Water Solutions

Sugar beet reuse water used to grow tomatoes

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Keywords : ASR-coastal; opening; dinteloord

On April 19, Erik van Merrienboer, Province of North Brabant Executive for Spatial Planning and Finance, officially opened the advanced sustainable freshwater supply system, which has been created for the Nieuw Prinsenland greenhouse area in Dinteloord. Effluent from the neighboring sugar factory is converted into large volumes of high-quality irrigation water. Underground water storage (aquifer storage and recovery, ASR) is applied to balance the availability of this reuse water in Autumn and Winter with the demand for additional irrigation water by the local farmers in Spring and Summer. Continuous supply of irrigation water is thus secured, even during long summer droughts.

The ASR system provides local farmers with an additional 300.000 m3 of freshwater, in addition to the rainwater that is already harvested and stored in aboveground reservoirs. This additional freshwater is stored underground using eight ASR wells. The sugar factory, farmers and the ASR system are connected by a 5km distribution loop, guaranteeing a maximum supply of 200m3 of fresh irrigation water per hour during dry spells. Consequently, farmers enjoy a year-round supply of sufficient high-quality irrigation water, without the need for a heavy load on the already minimal above-ground space. As well as delivering irrigation water to farmers, water is also re-distributed to the sugar factory.

The system is an example of hybrid grey and green infrastructure, demonstrating how the underground can contribute to water reuse in the circular economy: farmers grow their tomatoes and egg plants on reuse water from sugar beets.

The ASR system was developed by Allied Waters’ partner KWR Watercycle Research Institute and real-estate developer TOM in the Subsol project. Codema B-E de Lier undertook the engineering and construction works. The system is collectively owned by greenhouse farmers and costs are covered by a pay-per-use system.

The Allied Waters SALutions Collab is carrying out the operation and maintenance of the system this year.