In Flanders, water policy for many years was one of drainage. Marshes were drained, rivers straightened and water levels controlled to drain away water as quickly as possible. With increasingly severe periods of drought and a pressing groundwater shortage, this is no longer viable so there is a need for a turnaround. That is why the new Blue Deal of the Flemish Government aims to drastically change water management.
In this context Natuurpunt, Antwerp University and iFLUX are studying how the groundwater level can be adjusted around the old city walls in Damme. In the project in Damme, drained marshlands have been flooded again. In this marsh area the water level is now artificially kept high by means of small weirs up to the level that should normally be there without weirs.
The agricultural sector gets a lot in return. In the first place, the supply of water is kept higher for all users, including agriculture. But there are also many additional benefits that are called 'ecosystem services'. The wetlands will not only store water that can be used later, they will for example also store much more carbon.
Crucial to the water management of the future are continuous measurements. Modern water management must be based on knowledge and information, and the latest technologies can be used for this purpose. This is where iFLUX plays a role. Its digital sensor continuously measures groundwater quality and quantity. That information can then be used for evidence-based water management that can be managed instantly based on the knowledge.