Cornelis Biemond


Cornelis Biemond

Distinguished Pioneer

Professional background

Cornelis Biemond (1899-1981) was trained as a Civil Engineer at Delft University.  He initially served as Chief Bridge Officer for the City of Amsterdam overseeing 1900 bridges and constructing 100 new ones before being invited to serve as the Managing Director of the Amsterdam Water Supply Authority — a post which he occupied from 1937 through 1965.

During his three decades of service, he undertook four enormous challenges.  The first was undertaking a new approach to Amsterdam’s chronic water supply shortages, accomplished through augmentation of the dune aquifers with Rhine River water through an elaborate aquifer-recharge system.  It took nearly 40 years to fully implement this complex system – a process completed by his successor, and subsequent IWSA President, Cornelis van der Veen.

Second, Cornelis Biemond maintained Amsterdam’s water supplies without interruption through the entirety of WWII.  Third, he undertook new alliances in the post-war reindustrialization of Germany, Switzerland and France to protect Rhine River water quality, leading to his founding RIWA, the Association of River Water Companies, in The Netherlands and the International Association of Waterworks in the Rhine Basin (IAWR).

Major Contributions to IWA

His fourth major, self-imposed challenge was to ensure that all work undertaken by the Amsterdam Water Authority benefited from the best international practice and vice-versa.  He shared this ambition with leading drinking water authorities in Britain, France and Belgium.  In partnership with Professor Krul at Delft University, and the aforementioned national partners, Cornelius Biemond was a leading force in the conception and formation of IWSA in 1947, and its inaugural World Congress in 1949 in Amsterdam.  He was a longstanding voice within IWSA related to the protection of source water quality and pollution prevention and remembered as a great leader, gifted coalition builder and visionary thinker.

Author:  Paul D Reiter

Major Contributors:  R Biemond (SE), M Gast (NL)