The Freshman-project

The Freshman-project

The sweetness of brackish water

Sweet and salt don't mix. Especially when the two are separated by brackish groundwater. How much brackish water is in between differs, but the existence is quite common along the coast. Can you use this water to make tasty and reliable drinking water? Does extracting mean we gain more space to keep more fresh water in stock? Dunea, De Watergroep, IWVA, KWR and Allied Waters will investigate this between 1 July 2020 and the end of 2025. First in the dunes of The Hague, the Netherlands - protected under Natura 2000-law. And second in Avekapelle, Belgium, where the pilot will be replicated. This provides reliable data and experience to value brackish groundwater and future application opportunities.

Logo's brak grondwater

How it works

Clean fresh water is valuable, and one must continue to protect it. Whenthere’s not enough, can brackish groundwater also be used as a sourceof drinking water? Does it create more storage for fresh water in the underground? This is topic of EU-LIFE subsidized research. How? Look at this video.

Climate Adaptation Summit

Dunea's multi-source strategy and The Freshman-project should keep drinking water available even as climate change and other impacts pile up. By working together and exchanging knowledge we want to learn and inspire others to help the world and our clients into a resilient future.

The importance of the pilot

We need to fight climate change as much as possible, but also adapt to it. Clean fresh water is important for public health, well-being and prosperity. If brackish groundwater proves to be a good source of drinking water, it can give drinking water companies along the coast an option to be less dependent on other sources and/or to continue to provide drinking water to the growing population in the region.

Having fresh water in stock helps to get through dry times. The more, the better. Removing brackish groundwater at the edge of the freshwater bubble can make the deep (freshwater) extractions in the dunes less susceptible to salinization (the Freshkeeper effect). It also increases the freshwater supply in case of calamities. The European Union considers this research so important to Europe that they have awarded a sustainability grant from the Life programme to help make the 'Freshman' project possible.

Programme & progress

More information

Latest news


Een ton om te (be)sparen

Als je 150 jaar bestaat, geef je klanten graag ook iets. Korting! Liefst één die helpt bij de uitdagingen van nu én met lokale partners. Dat is gelukt...

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Lezing: Drinkwatervoorziening onder druk

Brak grondwater, nieuwe bron voor drinkwater? Dunea doet hier onderzoek naar. Op 16 mei organiseren we een lezing over wat brak grondwater is en hoe...

Lees meer over Lezing: Drinkwatervoorziening onder druk


Pilots Brak grondwater en Valkenburgse Meer

Het aantal inwoners en bedrijven in de regio groeit snel en sterk en daarmee ook de vraag naar drinkwater in het leveringsgebied van Dunea. Om te...

Lees meer over Pilots Brak grondwater en Valkenburgse Meer

Who's involved?

In addition to the research partners, stakeholders from the area are involved. Their advice and concerns also contribute to more and broader knowledge.

TU Delft
Province of Zuid Holland
HH Rijnland
HH Delfland
Municipality of The Hague
Leiden Municipality
Heineken Breweries
Dune Conservation Foundation
Berkheide Coepelduynen Foundation


About LIFE

The LIFE programme co-finances projects in the areas of resilience to water scarcity, droughts, forest fires or floods, adaptive technologies for economic sectors, and safeguarding natural resources. It provides action grants for best practice, pilot and demonstration projects that contribute to increased resilience to climate change. The climate sub-programme also promotes the development and implementation of EU policy on climate change adaptation, best practices and solutions for climate change adaptation, including ecosystem-based approaches and knowledge sharing.
In the programme this project is known as: LIFE19-CCA_NL_001222 LIFE_FRESHMAN.



Nederlandse informatie over dit  project

Do you have questions about this project? Go to the questions and answers page to find an immediate answer. Do you have other questions or are you a journalist? Please send an email to