Water Resources Management

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1271–1281 | Cite as

REFLECT, a Decision Support System for Harmonizing Spatial Developments with Groundwater Resources

  • Cors Van den Brink
  • Willem Jan Zaadnoordijk
  • Bert Groenhof
  • Rini Bulterman
  • Carolien Steinweg


A sustainable drinking-water supply requires durable securing of the resource. With an increase in spatial pressure, the need is increasing to prioritize measures based on the vulnerability of the resources and the impact of surrounding land use functions. This is especially challenging in the Province of Overijssel with groundwater abstraction sites in vulnerable Pleistocene sandy soils and increasing spatial pressure from both agricultural and urban areas. The governance of the groundwater abstractions in the Province of Overijssel is based on a combination of precaution and a risk-based approach. The Province has adopted REFLECT to assess the risks of spatial developments. REFLECT is a negotiation support system that gives an overview of the vulnerability of the groundwater abstractions and risks of several land use functions on the groundwater quality. REFLECT has been used to obtain the current risk scores of all drinking water abstractions in the Province and following the EU Water Framework Directive. Spatial insight of risks was used to identify and target measures reducing these risks. Moreover, REFLECT has been applied to decide on a local spatial development near an abstraction. Knowledge of the impact of land use changes on groundwater quality helped the municipality harmonizing the spatial plan with the interest of the drinking water abstraction and creating a step-forward in the protection level of the abstraction site. These applications illustrate that REFLECT is an instrument that fits well within risk-based groundwater governance which aims at safeguarding of the public water supply by harmonizing land use functions.


Groundwater resources Land use Decision support system Governance Stakeholders Vulnerability 



A very constructive review allowed us to improve the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cors Van den Brink
    • 1
  • Willem Jan Zaadnoordijk
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Bert Groenhof
    • 5
  • Rini Bulterman
    • 5
  • Carolien Steinweg
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal HaskoningDHVGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.KWR Watercycle Research InstituteNieuwegeinThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Geological Survey of the Netherlands, TNOUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Water Resources Section, Faculty of Civil Engineering and GeosciencesDelft University of TechnologyDelftNetherlands
  5. 5.Province of OverijsselZwolleThe Netherlands

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