In order to achieve stable groundwater levels, an equilibrium between the use of groundwater for drinking water production and natural or artificial groundwater recharge by infiltration is needed. Local governments usually require that the composition of the water used for artificial recharge is similar to the surface water that is naturally present in the specific recharge area. In this paper, electrodialysis (ED) and nanofiltration were evaluated as possible treatment technologies for surface water from a canal in Flanders, the North of Belgium, in view of infiltration at critical places on heathlands. Both methods were evaluated on the basis of a comparison between the water composition after treatment and the composition of local surface waters. The treatment generally consists of a tuning of pH and the removal of contaminants originating from industrial and agricultural activity, e.g., nitrates and pesticides. Further evaluation of the influence of the composition of the water on the characteristics of the artificial recharge, however, was not envisaged. In a case study of water from the canal Schoten-Dessel, satisfactory concentration reductions of Cl-, SO42-, NO3-, HCO3-, Na+, Mg2+, K+ and Ca2+ were obtained by ultrafiltration pretreatment followed by ED. Nanofiltration with UTC-20, N30F, Desal 51 HL, UTC-60 and Desal 5 DL membranes resulted in an insufficient removal level, especially for the monovalent ions. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.