Flanders’ largest inland lake drained due to poor water quality

The largest natural inland lake in our region Het Vinne in Zoutleeuw (Flemish Brabant) has been drained as the quality of the water in it is so poor that it has become harmful to plants and animals. The lakebed is being cleaned up. Once the clean-up work has been completed the lake will be re-filled. It is hoped that the lake will have been returned to its former glory by next spring.    

The work has started later than planned. Normally the draining and clean-up operation such have started as soon as the brooding season was over. The work is being carried out by the Flemish Brabant provincial authority.

The Provincial Cabinet Member Ann Schevenels (liberal) told VRT Radio 2 Flemish Brabant “The fish from the lake have been taken elsewhere. One the water level is low enough all the algae, plants and other organic material will be removed, after which the lake will be allowed to fill up again naturally. We have agreements with a number of angling associations that have provided the many fish with temporary homes.   

The Vinnemeer covers around 100 hectares. The nature reserve including the lake is around 130 and attracts many brooding and migrating birds. The lake and its surroundings have been owned by the province (first Brabant and then Flemish Brabant) since 1974. The lake was completely re-filled in 2005. The work to restore the lake to its former glory should have been completed by the spring of 2020.