Use of wastewater in managed aquifer recharge for agricultural and drinking purposes: The Dutch experience

Koen Zuurbier*, Patrick Smeets, Kees Roest, Wim van Vierssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

3 Citations (Scopus)


Use of wastewater is increasingly gaining importance as a water supply. However, the acceptance of the final users is important for the success of such projects. The acceptability of the treated wastewater depends on the physical, chemical, and most importantly the microbiological quality of the water. Appropriately designed and operated Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) systems have proven to be a very effective and robust barrier against all pathogens present in wastewater. Examples of successful implementation of MAR to catalyse safe and reliable water reuse are abundant. In the Netherlands, this started with the intake river water for dune infiltration in the 1950s. These big MAR schemes still supply around one-fifth of the drinking water in the Netherlands. Research has shown that these MAR systems are crucial for disinfection of the river water and overcoming mismatches between river water availability and water demand. Cost-effective and microbiologically reliable water supply can also be attained for the agricultural sector, as shown by the Dinteloord case study. Stakeholder involvement and an integrated approach is becoming indispensable for MAR and results in increased creation of water banks, including total cost recovery based on financing from all stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSafe Use of Wastewater in Agriculture
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Concept to Implementation
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319742687
ISBN (Print)9783319742670
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2018


  • Disinfection
  • Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR)
  • Pathogens
  • Wastewater
  • Water quality indicators Dune infiltration


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