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Drinking Water Engineering and Science An interactive open-access journal
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https://doi.org/10.5194/dwes-2020-8
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/dwes-2020-8
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 24 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 24 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal DWES.

Sustainability characteristics of drinking water supply

Jolijn van Engelenburg1,2, Erik van Slobbe2, Adriaan J. Teuling3, Remko Uijlenhoet3, and Petra Hellegers4 Jolijn van Engelenburg et al.
  • 1Asset Management Department, Vitens NV, P.O.Box 1205, 8001 BE Zwolle, the Netherlands
  • 2Water Systems and Global Change Group, Wageningen University & Research, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
  • 3Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
  • 4Water Resources Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands

Abstract. Developments such as climate change and growing demand for drinking water threaten the sustainability of drinking water supply worldwide. To deal with this threat, adaptation of drinking water supply systems is imperative, not only on a global and national scale, but particularly on a local scale. This investigation sought to establish characteristics that describe the sustainability of local drinking water supply. We use an integrated systems approach, describing the local drinking water supply system in terms of hydrological, technical and socio-economic characteristics that determine the sustainability of a local drinking water supply system. Three cases on drinking water supply in the Netherlands are analysed. One case relates to a short-term development, that is the 2018 summer drought, and two concern long-term phenomena, that is, changes in water quality and growth in drinking water demand. The approach taken recognises that next to extreme weather events, socio-economic developments will be among the main drivers of changes in drinking water supply. Effects of pressures associated with, for example, population growth, industrial developments and land use changes, could result in limited water resource availability, deteriorated groundwater quality and growing water demand. To gain a perspective on the case study findings broader than the Dutch context, the sustainability issues identified were paired with global issues concerning sustainable drinking water supply. This resulted in a proposed set of generally applicable sustainability characteristics, each divided into five criteria describing the hydrological, technical and socio-economic sustainability of a local drinking water supply system. Elaboration of these sustainability characteristics and criteria into a sustainability assessment can provide information on the challenges and trade-offs inherent in the sustainable development and management of a local drinking water supply system.

Jolijn van Engelenburg et al.

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Jolijn van Engelenburg et al.

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Short summary
This study analysed the impact of an extreme weather event, water quality deterioration and a growing drinking water demand on the sustainability of drinking water supply in the Netherlands. The results of the case studies were compared to sustainability issues for drinking water supply that are experienced worldwide. This resulted in a set of sustainability characteristics, describing drinking water supply on a local scale in terms of hydrological, technical and socio-economic characteristics.
This study analysed the impact of an extreme weather event, water quality deterioration and a...
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