The Met Office has made calculations about our drier spring seasons. "The average spring precipitation value for the past 30 years in Ukkel was 17.5 percent below the average springtime precipitation for the period between 1961 and 1990", explains Rozemien De Troch, a climate scientist at the Belgian Met Office KMI. Since 1981, springtime precipitation has dropped by 9 percent each decade. At the same time, our winters are getting wetter due to climate change.
Dry spells in springtime have become longer as well, data show. Their length has grown by 0.95 days per decade since 1960. For the future, more of these dry spells are expected in spring, as is the case for the summer. Our winters should become even wetter due to climate change in the future.
Can the 'Blue Deal' fix the problem?
Experts underline that Belgium (and especially Flanders) will only be able to cope with these dry spells if water management gets more efficient.
There are a lot of paved surfaces in Flanders, which results in a lot of rain being wasted as it is sent directly to the sewage system and to our rivers and canals. In the countryside, not enough is being done to retain the rain that falls during wet periods.
The Flemish minister Zuhal Demir presented her 'Blue Deal' to counter the problem, but a lot of work still needs to be done. Members of the public can also help by using rain water for toilets and washing machines, and by paving as little area as possible in their gardens.