Salinisation in the IJsselmeer, the inland bay between Friesland and North Holland, has increased.
Translation by Traci White
The higher salinity levels are likely attributable to the prolonged drought across the Netherlands over the summer. Water in several areas of the body of water are saltier than normal, which was a point of discussion during a conference about the IJseelmeer in Leeuwarden.
Omrop Fryslân reports that there is no immediate solution in sight to fix the salinity levels. “We’ll be looking into these surprising findings in the coming months”, Friesland water board chairperson Paul van Erkelens, said. “We rely on the fresh water in the IJsselmeer to prevent salinisation in our region, so we have to figure out what exactly has caused this and how to fix it.”
Van Erkelens says that the problem will probably occur with greater regularity due to longer periods of drought and low water levels in the Ijsselmeer.
The body of water now known as the Ijsselmeer was previously the Zuiderzee, and when the Afsluitdijk was completed in 1932, river waters draining into the bay pushed the saltwater.
Saltwater intrusion is connected to climate change: according to the Environmental Protection Agency, “rising sea levels, drought and changes in water demand and availability can increase the salinity of both ground water and surface water sources of drinking water.” If salinity increases in ground water sources, water treatment becomes more difficult and the ground water may eventually become unusable.