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Flemish tunnels to protect Copenhagen from flooding

Smet Group, a Flemish engineering firm based in the Antwerp Kempen District, is to drill a new cloudburst tunnel to prevent the Danish capital from flooding. It’s the fourth such tunnel Smet Group is constructing under Copenhagen.

Copenhagen suffered extensive flooding a decade ago.  Insurance claims worth a billion euros were filed.  Ever since the city has attempted to do its best to limit the impact of climate change. Then it was decided to construct several cloudburst tunnels.  Today the tunnel system is being expanded.

Smet Group is specialised in subterranean engineering and will embark upon a project to build its fourth cloudburst tunnel under the city.  Smet Group’s Bart Vanhout explains the fourth tunnel will be the longest the company has drilled there so far: 1.4km: “The tunnels ensure that rainwater is quickly dispatched.  Sewers lacked the capacity to deal with thundery showers that became ever more intense.”

“The sewage system is linked to a number of tunnels that have been drilled under the city in various locations. This creates a buffer allowing the water to be returned to the port later”.

Can tunnels like these help in Belgium?

Belgium too experienced extensive flooding last summer.  Bart Vanhout believes tunnels like the ones drilled in Copenhagen could also offer a solution in Wallonia: “In urban environments like Liege and Spa this is the only way to buffer water.  In an open plain, of course, you can build flood control reservoirs and collect the water there”.

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