Extra drought measures in Flanders ahead of temperatures rising to 37°C next week

Extra drought measures in Flanders ahead of temperatures rising to 37°C next week
Credit: Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck

The provinces of East and West Flanders have announced extra measures to combat the current drought in the area, as the temperatures are expected to reach up to 37 degrees next week.

As of Wednesday, there is a ban on water abstraction in the entire basin of the Yser river, announced governor of West-Flanders Carl Decaluwé on Tuesday evening. He said that improvement is not immediately in sight, on the contrary: record temperatures are expected next week.

"The level of the watercourses is decreasing rapidly. It has been dropping remarkably fast over the past few days. Especially in the Yzer basin, there is no longer a margin," Decaluwé said. "And the next few days we will only get more of this very warm weather."

Water levels dropped to alarming level

In the polder area, numerous people are requesting licences to draw water so they can supply their crops. Everything possible was done to avoid water shortage, but the water level has now dropped to an alarming level. "If we want to preserve the scarce water as much as possible for drinking water for both people and animals, it is essential to strictly observe the abstraction bans."

On Monday, the provincial drought committee will reassess the situation, but it is doubtful that there will be any improvement in sight by then as the weather is expected to remain warm and dry for the whole week.

Last week, the governor of East-Flanders, Carina Van Cauter, also announced a ban on water abstraction. "Despite the perception of the general population, we are still in a period of persistent drought, which is putting severe pressure on the water levels in the unnavigable watercourses of East Flanders," she said in a press release.

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Van Cauter also stressed that the drinking water supply is not threatened, meaning no limits will be imposed on the consumption of tap water for citizens. "Still, it is always a good idea to use tap water sparingly and to avoid non-essential consumption."

According to the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI), a high-pressure area will move towards Central Europe on Monday, bringing very warm air from the south with it. The maximum temperatures may reach 30°C to 34°C.

On Tuesday, the subtropical air from Spain and Portugal is expected to reach Belgium, making it extremely warm with temperatures around 36°C to 37°C in the centre of the country. Weather models show that it will be a mostly sunny day, with a small chance of a local thunderstorm in the evening and night.

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