It is difficult to supply drinking water from the central system in some parts of the Netherlands. Available alternatives for producing drinking water locally through stand-alone treatment plants have therefore been studied for some remote locations. The study looked at the technologies required, including the associated costs and environmental impact. It emerged that the environmental impact of local treatment is almost always higher than the central treatment of drinking water.
Review of alternative sources
A review was conducted of a number of remote locations in Limburg without centrally supplied Dutch drinking water to identify alternative sources to the current supplies from Germany. It looked at practical and economic feasibility. An examination was conducted of the alternatives that emerged from the study to determine which treatment approaches would need to be used and the associated costs and environmental impact.
Local drinking water supplies have a larger environmental impact
Alternative sources of drinking water proved to be available at all the locations studied. Because the water is used directly by the consumer, robust treatment is necessary. The technology that can be used is highly dependent on the type of source (rainwater, surface water, groundwater). In most cases, the costs of the analyses required to safeguard water quality for the client are the limiting factor. From approximately 600 households upwards, the costs of local sources are comparable with those of centrally produced drinking water. Because they are less efficient, small-scale treatment plants generally have a larger environmental impact than large-scale treatment. In addition, this impact is significantly higher if the construction of extra networks and installations is taken into account.