For two summers in a row, Flanders had to deal with a very long dry season. The total shortage of precipitation is estimated as the equivalent of almost 1000 liters.
In the short term, the agricultural organizations are mainly concerned with recognizing the drought as an agricultural disaster, but they are already thinking about better armoring Flemish agriculture and horticulture against new periods of drought. These, together with other extreme weather phenomena, will inevitably occur as a result of climate change. Efficient agriculture must therefore focus more on effective water management.
Given the location, the desalination of seawater immediately catches the eye. “The North Sea is in our backyard, so during the initial consultation with the governor we suggested the idea of using seawater desalination projects.” A faster result can be expected from Aquafin’s offer to use purified waste water for the irrigation of fields. “We welcome this,” according to Algemeen Boeren Syndicaat, “on condition that the basic quality is guaranteed.”
The farmers’ syndicate also points to the substantial investments that the sector has already made in collecting rainwater and reusing process water. For example, rinsing water from milking installations is reused as drinking water for cattle. For the first wash of vegetables, the same water can be used several times and irrigation systems become particularly innovative, which is first noticeable on floriculture businesses.
A modern agriculture with apps and internet, use of drones, GIS and precision farming are key elements in this regard. And these are the core of the SEED project.