Belgium in Brief: Wishing for a wet summer?

Belgium in Brief: Wishing for a wet summer?
Credit: Belga, Canva

Can we never just have good news? There's enough doom and gloom in the world right now that putting a damper on things that normally would inspire hope and happiness seems unfair and a bit heartless.

But a damper is exactly what Belgium could do with right now, pleasant as it is to frolic in sun-lit parks and bask in the balmy heat. Because the alluring warm that has swept the country in recent days is doing no good at all for Belgium's already-depleted groundwater. Levels have been dropping every year and this spring has been the second driest on record.

Speaking to The Brussels Times, hydrogeologist Marijke Huysmans was plain about the scale of the problem: "In the past three months, there has been so little rain that we are now experiencing a drought that, according to statistics, only occurs once every 50 years."

Huysmans also called attention to the type of rain Belgium needs. Whilst heavy and localized showers are forecast for the coming days, we in fact need soft and sustained precipitation. The ground is now too water-starved to be able to absorb large quantities of rain quickly, leading to floods that can have catastrophic results, as Belgium well knows.

"Efficient" is a strange label to apply to rain, we seem to spend most of the time waiting only for it to stop. However, Huysmans assures us that this is a trick of the mind – it actually rains less than we think but we remember wet weeks more than dry ones. And though we may not be breaking out the barbeques (in strict compliance with environmental guidelines, of course), there are often periods where the weather isn't great but is dry.

So whilst this may not be the news you wanted to hear, perhaps this will help look on the bright side the next time it rains on your parade.

Here's my pro tip: umbrellas are great in sun and rain. What's yours? Let @Orlando_tbt know.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

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