The Living Lab in the Netherlands constitutes the area of Rijnland in the west of the Netherlands, between the cities of the Hague and Amsterdam. The area is in the delta of the Rhine, and is important for tourism, agriculture, recreational and commercial shipping, and nature conservancy. In this delta region there is increasing competition among these water-related sectors, which is aggravated during droughts . The area is mostly flat and below sea level. Extensive dunes along the coast are important for protection against the sea, but also for water supply to the cities through Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) schemes. The surface water system serves both irrigation and drainage, with pumping stations discharging excess water to interconnected canals and out to the North Sea. During dry spells fresh water is let in from the Rhine, and supplied to low-lying polders through the same interconnected canals. The climate is temperate oceanic climate (Köppen classification: Cfb), with rain throughout the year. Climate change is projected to lead to more pronounced (extreme) events, both wet and dry, and sea level rise. The area is not only prone to flooding, but also faces drought challenges, exacerbated by salt water intrusion and saline groundwater. This creates significant issues in maintaining surface water functions (commercial and recreational shipping, irrigation), particularly when prolonged dry-spells coincide with low-flows of the River Rhine, an important source of freshwater.
Rijnland Basin, the Netherlands