Before 1870 it was customary in the Netherlands to collect drinking water directly from wells, rivers or even puddles and ditches. Most of this water had a very poor quality and outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and typhus were not uncommon. Surprisingly, people who drank water that was collected from dune areas did not get ill. The only conclusion that could be drawn, was that dune water had to have a much better quality than water from other sources. As a result, there was a sudden increase in the extraction of dune water for drinking water purposes.
Preparing drinking water from dune water is a unique method. The process is shown in the figure below and described in detail in this paragraph.
Since 1976 the river Afgedamde Maas is used as a source for dune water. This side branche of the river Maas has a length of 12 km and runs from Well to Woudrichem. The water of the river has a very good quality. The water flows very slowly, giving the river plenty of time for self-cleaning and making it a very suitable sedimentation and water supply basin.
Drinking water contains lots of different substances, like oxygen and hydrogen carbonate, different metals, minerals and bacteria.
Dune water is drinking water that is produced by transporting surface water to the dunes to be infiltrated and purified by the dune soils. Clean surface water features, such as the Afgedamde Maas, are used as a source.