Water challenges play a big role in all countries and on many different scales. The royal zoo of Amsterdam, ARTIS, is no exception. The zoo is part of an urban water system that needs to meet certain standards for the safety of both residing humans and animals. In ARTIS, a large amount of tap water is used and the water of some animal enclosures is very polluted by animal feces and leaves. To save energy and money, and set an example for the city of Amsterdam, ARTIS aims for a more sustainable water system. This can be done by recycling water to reduce tap water use, and by treating contaminated water on the spot, instead of sending it into the sewage system.
Additionally, due to climate change, longer droughts and heavier rainfall is expected. A renewed water system should therefore be cost-energy effective and makes the zoo more resilient to these extreme weather conditions. Several solutions like rainwater storage and using canal water for the elephants are already implemented. However, an overarching plan is missing, the available data is scattered throughout the organization, and there is uncertainty on the correct strategy.

In order to help ARTIS reach their goals, we will generate solutions based on a water system analysis. This will include all important factors that are of influence in the zoo’s water quantity and quality. This analysis will also make clear how to prioritize these solutions because it shows the urgency of and relationship between certain issues.

Eventually, we will advise on how ARTIS could create a more sustainable water system. This does not only save energy and money, but also creates a big opportunity for the zoo to show their visitors how current water challenges could be solved.

Hannah van der Stok, Miriam Nieto Solis, Pleun Aarts