THE HAGUE, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- A continuing drought in the Netherlands has made it increasingly difficult to meet the Dutch demand for water in more and more areas, despite the current rainfall and water-saving measures by the government.
Just like the rest of Europe, the Netherlands is struggling with drought at the moment. This summer is among the driest ones since 1901, according to the weather institute KNMI.
Despite a rainfall on Wednesday, which is expected to last until Friday, the problems caused by drought are certainly not over. It will have to rain heavily throughout the Netherlands for weeks to bring the groundwater back up to standard, which does not seem likely, according to experts.
The persistent drought means a greater demand for water than what enters the Netherlands via rain and rivers. At the beginning of August, the Dutch government decided to properly distribute water.
Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mark Harbers said that the Water Shortage Management Team (MTW) will coordinate national and regional measures to keep the water distribution as optimal as possible.
"We see for several weeks that it is becoming drier in the Netherlands," Michele Blom, chairman of the MTW, explained. "On the one hand, this is due to a lot of evaporation in our own country and, on the other hand, to a very low river supply from abroad. Water boards have therefore already taken measures to retain the water and distribute it as well as possible."
From August 3, a national water shortage was applied based on the criteria of the national water distribution and drought scenario.
The shortage of water mainly affects agriculture and shipping in the Netherlands as some waterways are blocked and crops can no longer be constantly irrigated. Fresh water supplies in rivers, ditches and lakes also decreased.
The National Water Distribution Coordination Committee (LCW) on Tuesday expressed its concerns about the ongoing drought.
"In more and more areas it is becoming difficult to supply sufficient water and to meet the water demand of all users," the LCW said. "Due to the very low water levels, more and more additional measures are required to maintain water supply to regional areas, such as the use of extra pumps."
One of the drought-relief measures is to keep the water level of the IJsselmeer, the biggest lake in the country, as high as possible, since a large part of the Netherlands gets its fresh water from there. Measures have been taken in various places to properly distribute water between the rivers.
Besides, Harbers advised the Dutch to use water economically. "I ask everyone to think carefully about whether they should wash their car or fill their inflatable pool completely," Harbers said. "The Netherlands is a water country, but our water is precious here too."