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.
To help ARTIS reach their goals, we did a water system analysis, which includes all important factors that are of influence in the zoo’s water quantity and quality. Based on this analysis we advised ARTIS in creating a more sustainable water system, using an overview and prioritization of different solutions. This does not only save energy and money, but also creates an opportunity for the zoo to show their visitors how current water challenges could be solved.