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Renewed online atlas provides better insight into pesticides in surface waters

On 24 September the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) in Leiden will launch the new version of the Pesticides Atlas in cooperation with Rijkswaterstaat and Royal HaskoningDHV. The online tool is now faster, more user-friendly, more accessible and all data can be downloaded directly. Users can experience the improvements for themselves in a webinar.

Insight into water quality

Insight into water quality desired
The upgrade of the atlas gives an even clearer picture of the still far from good environmental quality of Dutch waters. Clean and healthy surface water is important for people, plants and animals. However, pesticides from agriculture can have a negative influence on this water quality. Substances such as the insecticide imidacloprid or the herbicide glyphosate often end up in surface water undesirably and have been an important problem for Dutch water quality for years. Water managers find the pesticides in many places, even often in high, cross-standard concentrations. It is therefore very important to gain more insight into where and to what extent these types of pesticides occur.

The new website. Source: Bestrijdingsmiddelenatlas.nl
Map of exceedances of the environmental quality standard (JG-MKN) for the insecticide imidacloprid for 2019. Source: Bestrijdingsmiddelenatlas.nl

Trends snel in beeld

With this in mind, the CML, together with Rijkswaterstaat, the water boards and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works, developed the online Pesticides Atlas (in Dutch) in 2003. The website provides a quick and accessible picture of the current state and trends of pesticides in Dutch surface waters. This is done on the basis of measurement data from water boards, Rijkswaterstaat and drinking water companies. Among other things, the Atlas shows which pesticides have been measured where, where and when standards are exceeded, what the main problem compounds are and which crops and pesticides may play a role in this. Organisations such as RIVM and the Dutch Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb), as well as private individuals, use the atlas. In addition, the online tool is an important source of information for policymakers to assess their policies.

What's new?

In the upgrade of the Atlas, engineering firm Royal HaskoningDHV updated the entire design and underlying technology. As a result, the atlas is now faster, more user-friendly and more accessible, for example for the visually impaired. Users can now find the maps, tables and graphs via different routes, on different devices (desktop, tablet, telephone). All results are now immediately downloadable, if necessary even per water management company, and thus accessible to everyone and usable for their own analyses or applications. Because a timeline has been added to maps, users can view the various map images in succession per year. In this way they now also get a good idea of the trends.

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