Using knowledge about water quality and the subsurface to contribute to a healthy living environment. Does it get any better?! We are about to launch a number of important and enthralling new projects relating to water quality and health. It is wonderful to see how our alliances are slowly but surely taking shape.

An example is ‘The clean water experiment’ in which 500 people in Amsterdam will be measuring water quality in their city with the Waterbox. This is a monitoring kit containing five experiments to measure the quality of water this summer. The experiments will be conducted by people who want to know more about the water in their city. One of these experiments will also give an indication of the number of pathogenic micro-organisms present in the water.

Canal in Amsterdam

Moreover, we are teaming up with five water authorities and the Dutch company Amplino to test a method using DNA for the quick detection of E. coli in bathing water. Not in a laboratory but on the water’s edge. This can be done with a mobile qPCR system that is extremely easy to carry around and quickly indicates whether the critical standards for safe bathing water are being exceeded.

We will be using this same system in an alliance with medics to develop a method to establish a much clearer picture of how Dengue spreads in water-rich areas in Indonesia so that we can help to prevent Dengue. We will then be in a position to introduce a Dutch innovation internationally in collaboration with medics.

I think these are wonderful examples of how knowledge about water quality, monitoring, modelling and microbiology come together in applied research and contribute to a healthy living environment.

In order to maintain a sound knowledge base and keep up with new developments, my colleague Suzanne van der Meulen and I are now attending the International Symposium on Health-Related Water Microbiology in Chapel Hill (USA), which is organised by the IWA every two years.

Important topics on the agenda include: the spread of pathogens, new analysis methods, risk assessment, and the re-use of water. These are subjects to which we can make a substantial contribution with Deltares knowledge.

If you want to know more about these projects, the conference, or are looking to collaborate with others in this field, please send me an email.


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