Water consumption

Water is an essential resource for people and the economy. Because it is a finite resource, closing water cycles is important. This can be done by maximising purification and reuse, for example. Reducing water consumption is therefore closely aligned with circular economy thinking.

739 million m³

Total consumption increases slightly over the years. Within this, consumption of rainwater and surface water in particular are increasing, while consumption of groundwater is decreasing.

What do we see?

We see a slight increase in total water consumption up to 2020; the very wet summer of 2021 explains the lower value of the last data point. Within total consumption, we see a decrease in groundwater consumption and an increase in consumption of rainwater, partly due to the obligation of a rainwater cistern for (re)construction since 2004. For surface water, we see a slight increase since 2009; the later increase is mainly due to a new LPG plant in Zeebrugge. Tap water consumption has remained more or less constant over the past few years.

What’s the aim?

The consumption of water for human activities exerts considerable pressure on ground and surface water resources and can lead to a decrease in water resources and the quality of water available for humans and nature. Although the Flemish government has no targets linked to water consumption, it is still interesting to aim for a decrease. Flanders currently uses a combination of sensitisation, charges and permits to steer water consumption in the right direction.

What does this indicator measure?

This indicator measures total water consumption (excluding cooling water) for human activities in Flanders. The Flemish Environment Agency calculates the annual consumption of the different types of water, such as groundwater, tap water or surface water, using surveys, billed consumption, levy data and assumptions.

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