Zuhal Demir, Flemish Minister for the Environment (NV-A) is releasing no less than 75 million euros for the Blue Deal in the fight against drought in Flanders.

Through investments in large-scale infiltration and buffer basins, softening in cities and circular water use in agriculture and industry, the government wants to make Flanders more resilient to drought.

Long periods without rainfall follow each other in rapid succession. Flanders is drier than ever before. High time for action. The fight against water scarcity is being stepped up with numerous actions and infrastructural works. Everyone has to use water more sparingly and reuse water where possible. Waste is no longer of this time.

Satellite images show that Belgium is one of the worst pupils in the class when it comes to water availability. Our groundwater is a lot lower than normal. To such an extent that we do worse than Spain and southern Italy. Water is a scarce and precious resource and that does not yet translate into our daily use. That is why the Blue Deal appeals to everyone: the ordinary citizen, cities and towns, industry and agriculture.

The water will be retained as much as possible in swamps, wet grasslands, streams with dams and buffer basins. Reducing paving, optimising nature and maximising circular water use. Leaking pipes will be repaired faster. In a first phase, 70 concrete actions and a budget of 75 million euros that can be increased later.

For companies, a water scan/audit will be part of the admissibility conditions for applications for financial support and permits from the Flemish government from 2022 onwards. But also large consumers and companies with a large paved surface will be subjected to a water scan. The aim: to increase the profitability of water reuse projects. For local authorities there will be an intervention programme for softening operations and an obligation for a “rainwater and drought plan” when applying for water related subsidies.

Source and more info: www.zuhaldemir.be.