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Groundwater levels tumbled across Flanders over the past two decades

Figures from the Flemish environment agency, the VMM, show that groundwater levels in shallow locations across Flanders fell in seventy percent of all measuring points over the past two decades. It was above all the dry summers between 2017 and 2020 that are responsible for the misery.  At present the situation is better than in July 2020.

Shallow groundwater is affected by climate and weather and is a good indication of water supplies.

In 2017-2020 groundwater levels decreased in 57% of shallow measuring points.  Usually, reserves are replenished during the winter as a result of rainfall, but that didn’t happen.  Average annual temperatures also rose meaning more water evaporated.

In 2019 259 billion litres of groundwater were used. 65% went towards drinking water production. 20% was employed in farming and 12% in industry. Groundwater used by industry has fallen by half over the past two decades, partly because water is being reused.

So far, 2021 has been a good year for ground water levels with exceptional amounts of rainfall during the first six months of the year.  Groundwater levels today are higher than in July last year. Rainfall in June worked out at over 112 mm per square metre last month.  This is 40mm above the average.

At 3 out of 4 measuring points levels were normal to very high for the time of year.  At fewer than a quarter of measuring points levels were low to very low for the time of year.  The lowest readings were recorded in eastern Flanders.

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