Do you know where your drinking water comes from?
If you pay bills or own a boat in Amsterdam you are familiar with Waternet. This company is responsible for the water in Amsterdam and surrounding areas. They supply the city’s inhabitants with tap water, process wastewater and maintain the water levels.
Waternet strives to be a sustainable organization and hopes to become climate-neutral by 2020 by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, utilizing renewable energy and reusing and recycling materials and waste products.
You turn on the tap at home and drinking water comes out. Have you thought about how it gets there?
Water delivery through a pipe network began in Amsterdam in 1853. (Read more about the history of Amsterdam’s drinking water here: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinkwater) The water came from the dunes at Zandvoort and was piped into a central location at Haarlemmerplein and eventually to individual homes around the city center.
Most of Amsterdam’s water still comes from these dunes. The water originates in the Rhine river and IJsselmeer and is naturally filtered through the sand dunes. We like to think this imparts a special fresh taste to the drinking water. Click here to read more about the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen (AWD).
Most restaurants in Amsterdam will provide you with tap water if you request it. A very few will refuse stating that they only serve bottled water. Organizations like KRNWTR are trying to change that. Bottled water is very wasteful, not only because of the added trash from the bottles, but also due to transport.
Some cafes and restaurants around Amsterdam will charge a small fee for a carafe of tap water, often flavored with lemon slices or mint. This covers the cost of washing the glasses and carafes and the staff that brings it to you.
What if you like your water with bubbles? Restaurants like Cafe de Ceuvel have carbonated water on tap, and more and more places are stocking Amsterdamse Spuitwater. This water is delivered in old-fashioned glass soda bottles and is made using local Amsterdam tap water. You can order it in restaurants and even get it for your home. Another option is getting a simple machine for your home like Soda Club and making carbonated water yourself.
And of course, get yourself a cool refillable bottle to carry with you so that you can stay hydrated while out and about. I’m partial to my Klean Kanteen steel container with bamboo topped cap, but there are many nice bottles available.
We hope this inspired you to think about where your drinking water comes from!