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    Flanders is working on a ‘shutdown plan’ for water


    Since it still has not rained enough to make up for last year’s water shortage, the Flemish Environment Agency (VMM) is investigating how it can solve potential problems by switching off water to certain places when needed.

    Following the shutdown plan for electricity last winter, work is underway on plans to drastically save on water. It is not excluded that the tap will also close for family homes.

    “What do you prioritize: people, cattle, nature? Can you shut down the industry? Can you withhold water from families with children? What about hospitals and schools? Can one region still receive water while another is not? Unfortunately, it is not as straightforward as it seems, everything is interconnected. This is a very sensitive matter that can only be clarified if you involve the entire society,” said Katrien Smet from the VMM.

    “We hope that we will never need to implement this plan, but it is very necessary that we have one. The water scarcity is a serious problem in Flanders,” she added.

    The VMM is now looking for an external partner to develop the project with, since the measure also has to be legally effective. The plan is not expected to be ready by this summer, but it has to be by the summer of 2020. That is on the fast side as well, since a similar plan in the Netherlands took ten years, according to the VMM.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times