It has been particularly dry over the last months, with the exception of a wet spell around mid-June. But on that occasion, the rain was very heavy, with a lot of water falling in a short spell, and this is not good news for ground water levels, experts underline, since a lot of water flows away immediately, and the rain water has no chance to penetrate into the ground properly.
In short, these rains have saved us from the worst, but it wasn't enough. Yesterday, it turned out that ground water levels are below par across Flanders: 60 percent of the measuring points are showing levels which are "low" or "very low".
Today, the West-Flemish governor Carl Decaluwé announced a ban on pumping up water in the whole basin of the river IJzer, which includes 27 municipalities. "Police will check whether the ban is being followed", he added. In practice, it's especially farmers who will be hit. However, they can still take small amounts of water from the local rivers and streams for their cattle.