Reservoir management, algal growth and sun on water

There is a theme-overarching enthusiasm to tackle research questions in relation to new developments in reservoir management. This ranges from investigating the risk analysis of cyanotoxins, to the installation of solar panels, and the development of new reservoirs. In consultation with the DPWE Supervisory Groups on Sources, Water Quality and Treatment, a decision was made to made to take a staged approach, in which an initial problem analysis provides the base from which to work toward prioritising the most urgent research questions.

Staged approach

Good (drinking) water quality starts with good reservoir management. New developments can possibly impact the microbial stability of reservoirs. Moreover, the nature objectives of the Water Framework Directive and Natura 2000 that apply to these reservoirs call for tailored management.

One of these new developments concerns new WHO (draft) guidelines for various cyanotoxins, improved detection methods (LC-MS/MS and DNA techniques), and (new) toxins, whose presence in reservoirs has never before been studied. Research into these cyanotoxins is desirable for an up-to-date risk analysis.

Another development relates to the installation of (floating) solar panels on reservoirs, and the effect this has for instance on water quality, the current reservoir management, phytoplankton populations and the existing aquatic vegetation.

A third issue is related to the water utilities’ desire, with an eye on the increased demand for drinking water, to access new sources, and how these should be properly developed.

Consultations with the parties involved from the DPWE (dune water) utilities, HWL and KWR reveal that there is a great enthusiasm in different theme groups for the identified research questions. This is reported by the DPWE Supervisory Groups for Sources, Water Quality and Treatment. There is also a need for a staged approach. To begin with, a problem analysis has to be carried out to draw up a picture of all the subjects mentioned. Based on the existing literature and the knowledge present in the organisations involved, it should become clear where knowledge gaps still exist. Subsequently, the research questions will be formulated and prioritised, upon which the most urgent one will be tackled. This will involve coordination between the theme group and the steering group.