Importance of the Dutch water sector

The global population and the demand for food are sharply on the rise. The agri-sector will therefore need to produce more food, but at the same time, fresh water is becoming scarce and countries face serious challenges due to climate change. 

Importance-of the Dutch water sectorMany countries in the MENA region are among the countries with the lowest rainfall per year. By 2050 fresh water shortage is expected to have increased to 199 cubic kilometre per year in the MENA region (Droogers et al., 2012). Salt water agriculture will thus become an important focal point. Dependency on groundwater as the main water source is non-sustainable and rapidly calls for alternatives.

Netherlands; Water land

Even though the Netherlands is a small country (41 543 km2, of which 18% lakes and rivers), we are one of world’s largest exporters of agricultural products, partly through re-export and adding value. Production of agro-food products require efficient use of water because of the increasing water scarcity in this world. The fact that we are a small country, partly lying below sea level and inhabited by people that think big, made us experts in dealing with water challenges by developing new and innovative solutions. Dutch experts gained insight and contributed to solutions in water problems, whether there is too little, too much or too dirty water. Also for the MENA region, Dutch expertise of the private and knowledge sectors is relevant.

Dutch water expertise

The Netherlands is well known for water management skills as we possess over eight hundred years of experience with water management, coastal protection, land reclamation, water supply and water quality. Government, research institutes and businesses work closely together to maintain the leading position in this sector.  Almost 2 000 water technology and delta technology companies are active in the Dutch water sector. Ten of the best water engineering companies and two of the world leaders in land reclamation, dredging and coastal construction are based in The Netherlands and leaders in their field of expertise. Dutch water organisations and companies offer specialists and multi-functional solutions for planet, people and profit. Furthermore, Dutch research institutes and universities strive for high quality standards in water research and management.

Water Institutes and knowledge

Water for Food has gained attention in the Dutch water sector. The Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) is a network of governmental organisations, the business sector and NGO’s that cooperate to offer integrated solutions. Since 2013 they have added Water for Food as one of their focal points. The Wageningen University focuses on the theme ‘healthy food and living environment’ and has been doing research on improving water management for food security for years. UNESCO-IHE institute is located in the Netherlands and carries out education, research and capacity development activities. They are the largest international graduate water education facilities in the world, collaborating with partners in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is a country with an international outlook. We look for partnerships to exchange knowledge and expertise. We invite you to join us to find the best solutions for a changing world. Let’s work together!

We have a unique and innovative role in the development of services related to water, food and climate. Subjects that are particularly relevant to the Middle East & North Africa include:

  • Water use efficiency in food production
  • More crop per drop
  • Salinisation and water quality
  • Monitoring and remote sensing
  • Governance in the Dutch water sector

Reference: P. Droogers, W. W. Immerzeel, W. Terink, J. Hoogeveen, M. F. P. Bierkens, L. P. H. van Beek, and B. Debele (2012) Water resources trends in Middle East and North Africa towards 2050 Hydrology and Earth System Sciences