In the Netherlands, approximately two-thirds of the drinking water is produced from groundwater. Due to the filtering capacity of the underground, the quality of groundwater is high compared to surface water. However, the water quality is threatened by current and historic emissions of water-soluble micro-pollutants such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals. In addition, fresh water aquifers near the coast are under pressure of advancing brackish water. Furthermore, the operation of abstraction and infiltration wells can be hampered by well clogging and insufficient understanding of the local groundwater flow.
The Groundwater technology theme develops tools for the monitoring and control of aquifers and wells to cope with the issues described above. These tools are not only applicable for drinking water production from groundwater, but also for Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) systems and remediation sites. These tools include distributed sensors, e.g. to measure groundwater flow, and methods to remove or immobilise pollutants.