Waterschap de Dommel, thank you!

Waterschap de Dommel, thank you!

One month for a research stay is not a long period. Therefore, before starting this secondment at Waterschap de Dommel, we decided that I was not going to build a new model from scratch or start new simulations. Instead, I was going to take advantage of this stay to receive feedback of my work by giving seminars and organizing meetings with relevant researchers and policy advisors. Waterschap de Dommel is a River Basin Authority in the Netherlands and I am developing a Decision Support System for River Basin Authorities to help them select measures to reduce pharmaceuticals in their rivers. Therefore, the secondment was actually well planned and made a lot of sense for my individual research project.

Today (23/06/2017) is my last day at Waterschap de Dommel and I can say that the profit gained from this short stay went beyond expectations. I leave Waterschap de Dommel with the feeling that, at least the researchers from the Technology and Innovation Group, understood the aim of my work and the potential benefits for them. 2 weeks ago, I gave a seminar and we could discuss the importance of the model uncertainty on the selection of end-of-pipe measures to decrease pharmaceuticals in rivers. We also analyzed how uncertainty influences the total cost of the solutions. However, after the seminar, I realized that I still have a lot of work to do to improve the DSS. I could also learn from similar projects that the Waterschap de Dommel is conducting in the Netherlands, particularly, in the Maas river basin. In the end, I realized that the Dutch River Basin Authorities are among the leading institutions in Europe trying to propose measures to lower concentration of microcontaminants in water. In my opinion, they are doing a great job!

During this month, I also met two policy advisors on pharmaceuticals and environment from RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the environment in the Netherlands) as well as from Waterschap Drents Overijsselse Delta (another River Basin authority in the north of the Netherlands). I could discuss with them possible source control measures for the reduction of pharmaceutical concentrations in rivers. It was really helpful for me because we plan to compare the effect of source control measures combined with end-of-pipe measures at the end of my PhD.

Finally, I am very grateful with the colleagues I have met at Waterschap de Dommel. Thank you Jan-Evert, Stefan, Richard, Doy, Peter v H., Peter v D., Petra, Tony, Aad, Mark, Bianca, Alexandra, Ger, Oscar, Jan vdG., etc. You made me feel as part of your group during this month. You made the integration quite easy. And thank you for the book! It was a surprise! Now I need to visit all the watermills in Noord-Brabant! I hope you can come once to Spain and continue the tennis match! I am out for revenge!