Flanders in dark red "high water stress" category

Flanders has obtained a poor result on a list mapping water shortage regions worldwide. Researchers of the World Resources Institute have interpreted hydrological models to come to the conclusion that a quarter of the world population is wasting too much water, making bad use of over 80 percent of available water sources. 

The problem in Flanders is that many people are living in a small area, triggering a high water consumption. At the same time, a lot of rain water is being wasted because of the many paved surfaces: Flemings like a paved driveway, there are many roads and motorways and the total paved surface is increasing each year. 

When it rains, it is harder for the rain water to find its way into the ground and boost water levels. At the same time, due to climate change, it is raining less, especially in summer. And when it rains, it often rains hard, which is also not good to improve ground water levels. Climate experts think that these extremes will become more common. 

Belgium occupies 23rd place in a list of 164 countries, and has been put in the red category "high baseline water stress". The Netherlands are doing a lot better on number 80, just like the United Kingdom on number 89. Both are ranked in the yellow category of "low-medium water stress".  Click here to watch the full report

To improve the situation, Flanders has to improve its water reservoir capacity, at the same time reducing consumption, e.g. by re-using waste water in industrial processes. Members of the public should also do more to reduce water consumption, as many small efforts could make a big difference there, experts underline. 

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