Groundwater is water in the ground. Groundwater levels can change. The groundwater level increases when it rains a lot and decreases when the weather is dry.
Construction projects or blockages in water flow can also change the groundwater level.
What is the role of Waternet?
The care for ground water is the responsibility of your municipality. An exception to this rule is Amsterdam: the municipality of Amsterdam has delegated this role to Waternet.
Problems with groundwater
It is important that the water level is correct. If the groundwater level is too high, basements will flood and gardens will become soggy. If the groundwater level is too low, the wooden piles, on which many houses have been built, could start to rot.
The groundwater level is too high
The groundwater in and around Amsterdam is close to the surface. This can cause problems. Do you have a damp or wet crawlspace or (semi-)basement? Is your garden soggy and do puddles of water remain after it has rained? This can be the result of a high water level.
The groundwater level is too low
The groundwater level under your home may be very low. This is not necessarily a problem. However, many houses in Amsterdam have been built on wooden foundation piles. The water levels can drop during long periods of drought. Then, the wooden piles will no longer be emerged in water. This will cause the wooden piles and foundation to rot.
‘Polderriolen’ (Drainage pipes)
Some neighbourhoods In Amsterdam have underground ‘polderriolen’. These are underground pipes which were used to replace the ditches which were used for water drainage in the past. These pipes transport the ground water to the public sewer system. Many of these underground pipes are old and poorly maintained. Therefore, they may not function properly. When the ground water level rises, this system may cause problems.
Who does what?
You are responsible for the groundwater on your premises. However, the groundwater does not stop at the border of your property. Therefore, we provide advice on how to deal with water problems caused by groundwater. If possible, we also take measures in public spaces. For example, to prevent or limit problems caused by a too high or too low level of groundwater. Sometimes, the municipality or province needs to take action. Find out more about ground water management on the website of Rioned.
Groundwater level monitoring
We monitor the ground water levels with hundreds of water level indicators (‘peilbuizen’) in and around Amsterdam. This is done by hand in approximately 2500 places, 6 times a year. Do you live in a municipality outside Amsterdam and are you looking for information about the groundwater in your area? Then please contact your municipality.
Would you like to know more or do you need help?
You can report problems regarding ground water at Waternet. Please contact our customer service team.
See also: Municipal Sewage Program for Amsterdam 2022-2027 (pdf, 25 MB) (in Dutch).