The decision was taken on Thursday during a meeting of the Drought Committee. The measure will come into force Monday. This will give pleasure craft another couple of days to reach their home marina if necessary.
The measure has been prompted by the persistent drought. The rain that has been forecast for the next few days will do little to remedy the situation, the Flemish Waterways Authority says.
The Authority’s spokeswoman Liliane Stinissen told VRT News "As a result of to the drought it has been decided that pleasure craft can now only pass through locks, together with commercial vessels”.
Because there is no commercial shipping, pleasure craft will no longer be able to pass through the locks at the Gravensluis (Plassendale-Nieuwpoort Canal), the on the Bossuit-Kortrijk Canal (9-10-11 lock), the River Dender (upstream from Aalst Lock), on the Nieuwpoort- Dunkirk (France) Canal, the Lo Canal, the Ieper-IJzer Canal, Schipdonk Lock on the Leie Diversion Canal) and the Ringvaart Connection to the Ghent-Terneuzen (The Netherlands) Canal via Ghent (Brusselsepoortsluis, Scaldissluis, Sint-Jorissluis, Tolhuissluis).
Long waits are also expected for pleasure craft at the locks on the following waterways: Kanaalcholt-Herentals, Dessel-Turnhout-Schoten Canal, Zuid-Willemsvaart, Briegden-Nerharen Canal, the River Dijle, Plassendale-Nieuwpoort Canal, the River IJzer, the River Dender at Aalst Lock), the Leuven-Dijle Canal and the Charleroi Canal.