National Water Model

The National Water Model computes water movements in the Netherlands and provides insight into the consequences of climate change.

The National Water Model is a series of existing, interlinked water models. The new model can compute how the river water flows, to what extent the groundwater level is changing and up to what height the water reaches the dykes. It also calculates the amount of nitrogen and phosphate, and salinity.

A river with green coasts on both side
Image: ©Ton van Vliet / Hollandse Hoogte

The National Water Model shows not only the current situation in the Netherlands but also expectations for the future: the years 2050 and 2085. Future expectations, also called ‘basic forecasts’, will also appear periodically. They will show where in the future problems may arise with regard to flood risk management and water shortages. The data is available for specific analyses, such as showing the effect of eutrophication, salt intrusion and the future shortage of cooling water. From 2018 onwards, the model can also be used for water quality.

In the coming years the Dutch government authorities will be taking important measures in the area of water management. For example, the question of whether the strength of the primary flood defence system meets the statutory standard will have to be assessed. Moreover, the water quality must be satisfactory, according to the European Water Directives. The National Water Model helps water managers prepare for these changes in good time and assists them in improving the ecological condition of the water.

If you would like to know more about the National Water Model, please feel free to contact Mark Bruinsma.