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Environmental Impact Assessment drinking water production

The Provincial and Intercommunal Drinking Water Company of the Antwerp Province (Pidpa), has been producing drinking water from groundwater since the middle of the last Century in Grobbendonk, Belgium. In Grobbendonk, 30 wells abstract on average 6.3 million m³ of groundwater per year to be distributed as drinking water. To compensate a part of the abstraction, 700 000 m³ of the nearby Albert Canal water is artificially infiltrated to recharge the aquifer, after a pre-treatment.

The current abstraction license is expiring, therefore it needs to be renewed. Since the abstraction volumes are large, an environmental impact assessment has to be written to support the license. In this report all the potential effects on the environment have to described and evaluated. As part of this assessment, a groundwater model is made with which the influence zone of the abstraction is determined. The simulated groundwater heads and fluxes are used to feed an ecohydrological model, called NICHE Flanders, to estimate the potential for groundwater-dependant vegetation in nearby nature areas. As such, different scenarios can be balanced against each other, in order to choose the optimal abstraction strategy taking the environmental constraints into account.