With a month and a half to go before the end of the year, 2018 has had only 118 rainy days, which is within reach of the previous annual record of 143 rainless days, dating back to 2003. The lack of rain is attributable to a combination of anticyclones and Sector South winds. “This year we had many anticyclones, which had a favourable influence on our weather, particularly with fair weather like today,” meteorologist David Dehenauw said. “On the other hand, we have faced a lack of low-pressure systems. These two factors combined caused the drought and severe heat that occurred in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe this year.”
The number of rainless days in December will determine whether the 2003 record will be beaten in 2018. In any event, the situation this year is “remarkable, and even exceptional,” Dehenauw noted.
For its part, the Walloon Water Company, SWDE, has indicated that the recent sporadic rains in Belgium were not enough to fill up the country’s underground reservoirs.
“They were not enough to offset the rainfall deficit we’ve had since the start of the summer,” SWDE Communications Officer Benoît Moulin said. “But, basically, even if the level of the underground reservoir was at a historic low in early October, the supply of water for normal consumption has not been jeopardized. The situation therefore remains under control, at least for the next five weeks.”
The alderman in charge of water in Libramont, Bernard Jacquemin, said his was one of the Walloon communes with the biggest water-reserve problems.
“We’ve had practically no rain since March,” he said. “It’s worrisome because we have no idea when the crisis will end. In the meantime, we are working with water trucks to supply certain reservoirs, but that is expensive for the commune.”