René Hoeijmakers

June 19, 2023

Partnering with Vitens on a ‘living lab’ for a long-term sustainable drinking water concept

Ramboll is part of a contractor-led team that has been selected by the Dutch water utility Vitens to develop a drinking water ‘living lab’ on semi full-scale size for and together with the water utility. This ‘living lab’ will drive innovation which is highly needed – not only by Vitens but also many other water utilities around the world.

Many current water sources are under pressure, forcing water utilities globally to rethink their water abstraction, treatment, and distribution concepts. In the Netherlands high-quality groundwater is becoming a scarce resource, which means that the groundwater-dependent water utility Vitens needs to rethink its current water supply concept and strategy. To develop a new future-proof drinking water concept, Vitens is investing in a ‘living lab’ which will become a testing facility for both a new water landscape and new drinking water treatment technologies.
The project aims to develop a so-called blueprint for futureproof standardised drinking water facilities that are modular, adaptive, and scalable as needed. The facility will be home to practice-oriented innovation, and also help to meeting Vitens’ short-term need to produce extra drinking water.
“24/7 high-quality water supply in the Netherlands is at risk by year 2030 due to water scarcity,” according to the Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). This also applies to Vitens. The necessary additional production capacity must come from new surface water sources combined with several alternative water sources based on a multisource strategy.
Towards a more resilient water infrastructure
Most recently, Vitens selected their partners for this visionary five-year project and chose the renowned contractor ADS Groep Water B.V., with Ramboll as their international subject matter expert partner.
“We are proud and happy to be part of this important and exciting project. Clean water is a scarce resource, but this project will accelerate the innovation needed to ensure a stable and sustainable water supply, not only in the Netherlands but in many countries across the world,” says René Hoeijmakers, Director for Water & Wastewater Treatment in Ramboll.
Vitens, ADS Groep Water B.V. and all partners will work together on this project (water landscape, water works and transmission pipelines) as one team with a three-phase contract (Design, Built, and Operate & Maintain) The design will be made in phase 1, the full scale demonstration plant with a capacity of 5-10 million m3 per year built in phase 2 and, in phase 3 , its operation will be demonstrated and optimised. The demonstration plant adds 600 m3/h production capacity to Vitens’ water supply capacity as a minimum.
As many utilities share Vitens’ challenges and need for a more resilient and sustainable water infrastructure, an international panel of experts from leading water utilities and universities will support the project and gain from the insights and innovation generated.
Besides by Ramboll, ADS Groep Water B.V. will be supported by Logisticon Water Treatment, Aveco de Bondt, IA Groep, Visser & Smit Hanab, H+N+S Landscape Architects, and Dutch process innovators. The name of this team is abbreviated LLEV which means ‘guts’ in Dutch.
Connecting long- and- short- term ambitions
Vitens' long-term ambition is to develop the so-called 'eternal source' of clean and well-protected groundwater. For this purpose, the Panorama Waterland concept was previously developed, in which water abstraction, nature development, circular and sustainable agriculture, and recreation go hand in hand. LLEV has responded to this by linking this long-term ambition to the short-term need to produce extra water from alternative sources.
All stakeholders in the area will be involved to integrate interests, make a positive impact, and jointly give substance to this ambition and vision for the future.
“Ramboll brings knowledge and vast expertise on groundwater- and- surface water- based water supply, where possible with traditional water treatment technologies, and where necessary, with both innovative and proven advanced water treatment technologies,” says René Hoeijmakers. “Deteriorating groundwater and surface water quality as well as the need for implementing alternative water sources increasingly necessitates the implementation of advanced water treatment technologies.”
He continues: “The establishment of our Global Advanced Water Treatment department in Ramboll Water, led by Antony Gibson and Jonathan Clement, provides our clients easily accessible state-of-the-art knowledge and (practical) expertise. Vitens is amongst the first clients to benefit from our group of experts to enabling their long-term ambition.”

Want to know more?

  • René Hoeijmakers

    Global Division Director

    +31 6 83191061