Climate change is affecting the quality and availability of water in the Netherlands. Various factors play a role in this. There is a greater chance of long periods of drought. Extreme showers in the summer are also more common and the water is becoming warmer. This affects, for example, pathogens or other contaminants that may be present in the water.

Water has various functions in our country. Important functions, such as the use of water for recreation, or for making drinking water, may come under further pressure from climate change. At the same time, the demand for these functions may increase in a warmer climate.

In addition, water will play a more frequent role in the design of public space, especially in cities. As a result, people may come into contact with water more frequently, and some related health risks will become more challenging. To reduce these risks and exploit opportunities, RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment  is studying the impact of climate change and climate adaptation measures on water and health in the Netherlands and abroad.

RIVM is conducting needs assessments, and mapping global health effects of climate change. It is also developing a tool for assessing the risks of urban water and adjacent green space. The European Horizon 2020 project BlueHealth focuses on the impact of new and existing urban water on health and well-being. In collaboration with local partners, RIVM is also developing action options for dealing with climate effects. In this way, even under the influence of climate change, water can be a safe part of the living environment for the good health of people in the Netherlands, now and in the future.