A year after the flood: What if it rains heavily again?

“In recent years, we have worked hard on redesigning the water system, redesigning the regional water system, building rainwater storages to eliminate flooding. We will continue to do so,” Josette van Wierch of the Limburg Water Council told Radio Tour de France. “But the 2021 disaster has a sense of urgency to quickly come up with structurally strong solutions and measures to accelerate that.”


So we also commissioned the research agency Deltaris to do a system analysis for the floods: What happened? This jointly targets the Netherlands, but also against its Belgian and German neighbors. Based on this analysis, we can then take concrete measures,” explains Van Wersch. This study is still ongoing and will be completed by the end of 2022.


“Provincial and municipal authorities and the Water Board have developed the ‘Water Safety and Space Limburg’ program as partners. We will present this tomorrow in the presence of Harpers Ministers. This should lead to an implementation agenda, in which we are looking at short and long-term measures. These long-term measures will be based on research which will be delivered at the end of the year.


“If you want to solve it now, and we don’t have these solutions, you should consider a four hundred-meter wall in the center of Valkenburg. If you want to reduce the amount of water, you would need an area the size of 1,400 football fields. That wouldn’t work.” Deltaris also found Point out that if you intervene now in place x in the short term, that will have consequences for place y. You will always have to look at it in context.”

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“When we look at short-term measures, we really think about the sandbags or the fleet bulkheads that you remove as soon as the floods happen. You also have to look carefully there: If you run it here, it’s going to flow in the other direction anyway. Since we have space Limited here, you can see it’s rapidly flowing into urban areas again.”


Van Wersch also stresses that the flood problem can only be solved in cooperation with Belgium and Germany. “Do you want to tackle the floods in southern Limburg? Then you will certainly have to start taking measures in Belgium to slow down and drain the water in a therapeutic manner in the direction of Valkenburg and Mersenne, directly in Maas. This is simply necessary.”

“We, as the Water Council, also like to respond to the citizens’ call to alert us quickly. The alarm system worked well, but it was not enough for the amount of water that fell last summer. We are now professionalizing the alarm system. We do this by collecting data in Germany and Belgium. We hope to be able to introduce a completely new warning system by the end of this year, so that we can warn people faster.”

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