Provinces want to get started quickly with drought

It is extremely dry early in the year and therefore there is a good chance that 2020 will enter the books as the third very dry year in a row. “The precipitation shortage is greater than in 2018 and 2019 at this time. And in the record year 1976, more precipitation fell in April than now”, says the Provincial Executive of Representatives Bert Boerman.

He is involved on behalf of all provinces in drawing up measures in response to the extreme drought of the past two years. The province of Overijssel advocates accelerated implementation of previously announced measures against drought in sensitive nature areas. It is also necessary to gain more insight into the amount of groundwater that is available everywhere.

Structural problem

Especially in the east and south of the country, agriculture and nature suffer from the drought. Provincial Executive Boerman calls it a “structural problem” that provinces will have to keep working on.

“The extremes are increasing. So you have a lot of rainfall at the same time, interspersed with periods of drought. If a lot of rain falls, the water doesn’t get a chance to penetrate the soil and it flows to the ditches and the rivers, instead from the bottom, “says Boerman.

Better water retention

In order to retain the water longer, curves are made in Overijssel streams and they are made less deep. As a result, the water flows more slowly and the bottom retains the water better.

Natuurmonumenten states that the measures that have been taken in the past two years are not sufficient. According to the nature organization, insufficient water is retained in wet times for drier periods.

In winter, water boards were mainly focused on preventing flooding, but are now increasingly focused on water retention. Various water boards therefore kept the groundwater level at the higher winter level in the past year. Weirs have been closed to maintain the water level.

Because there was a lot of rainfall last winter, groundwater levels had recovered almost everywhere, but that advantage has been negated in much of the country. The Interprovincial Consultation, the umbrella organization of all twelve provinces, examines the problems of the groundwater level.

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