Drought in Holland worse than in 1976

    It’s drier in the Netherlands this summer than in record year 1976. On 25 July of that year, the precipitation deficit was 257mm, while last Wednesday, the deficit was 259mm. According to the 15-day forecast of KNMI, it could even reach 295mm.


    Whether 2018 will be drier than 1976, depends on what the weather is going to be like in August. In 1976, that was also an exceptionally dry month. It looks like the coming two weeks will continue to be warm and dry, but we don’t know yet about the rest of the month of August.

    Irrigation and abstraction restrictions

    Meanwhile, more and more problems occur as a result of the drought. Irrigation and abstraction restrictions were imposed in various regions. The regional water authority ‘Rijn en IJssel’ for example, announced a total ban on the abstraction of surface water.

    It’s now prohibited to collect water from streams, rivers, ponds and ditches throughout the entire management area. The prohibition applies to both companies and individuals, and to both large and small quantities.

    The authority closely monitors compliance with the rule. Anyone abstracting illegally risks a fine of up to €2,000. Hein Pieper, chairman of the water authority: “The Achterhoek region is drier than ever, since we started measuring in 1987. It’s a result of the climate change, which we can no longer ignore.”

    In some places in the Netherlands, such as the Achterhoek region, the precipitation deficit has already reached 300mm or more.


    Regional water authority ‘Rivierland’ also announced a ban on irrigating with surface water for the entire region on Wednesday 25 July. Irrigation is prohibited between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., so it’s no longer allowed to water gardens or irrigate agricultural land using surface water during daytime. Whether it’s a small pump or a large water canon, a violation can result in a fine.

    Evaporation is the highest during the day, while at night, most water authorities can get the water level in ditches back to normal. To do this, they’re pumping water into the area from the big rivers with the help of extra equipment. In some places, this is the first time that’s happening since 1976.

    Everyone is encouraged to check with their regional water authority whether there are any special measures in place. Some water authorities, like ‘De Stichtse Rijnlanden’, started a live blog about the drought.

    Irrigationpump connected with a underground watering system
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