Summer may only be making its first appearance behind the clouds, but farmers in parts of Belgium are already feeling the effects of what promises to be a ten-year drought or worse, reports La Libre. The initial signs are that this summer could see the lack of rainfall at levels only seen once every 10 to 30 years, scientists said, explaining the term. A 30-year drought is one expected to be encountered once in 30 years, not one that lasts 30 years.
The first concrete measure taken was in the commune of Oosterzele in East Flanders, where residents have been banned from washing their cars, watering their lawns or filling their swimming pools. The Flemish government has warned of an “extreme drought” coming at the end of the month.
The Flemish public health authority issued the following advice, particularly for the period from Friday over the weekend: “drink sufficiently, and keep yourself and your home cool”.
It also advised taking care of others. “Keep an eye on children. Go and visit older people or those who live alone. Are they drinking enough?” the authority said in a statement. “Is their clothing suitable for the temperature? Do they have a cool place to relax?”
Weather forecasts for the next two weeks predict temperature highs between 26 and 31 degrees. “May was a dry month, and June has also been terribly dry,” said VRT weatherman Frank Deboosere. The situation for the time being is normal, but in ten days will be considered dry to extremely dry. He advised home-owners not, however, to waste valuable water on things like watering a lawn.