This leads us to POINT 3 of our notes wetness in the grasslands. To go to all our notes on wetness follow the arrow. 

As farmer and Dijkgraaf T. explains: “Zele and Berlare are also regions were drinking water is pumped up, from below 6 meters, water that isn't available for farmers, but pumped. They are pumping up water for a big part of East Flanders here. This is also a concern when you are talking about water in this area, a concern for farmers, because we see in the last two summers that were very dry that pumping the drinking water also sucks up the water that is remaining above ground. As a result, the reserve in the ground doesn’t get a chance to be renewed” (December 2022).

K, another farmer, thinks that this water extraction may be the reason why some plots have become drier over the years.

“In the plots where our young cows are, the extraction pumps are not too far away. So the plot used to get very wet and it would flood in the winter, but its not wet in the winter anymore. So the lower areas of the field would be flooded and frozen, but for the last ten years this isn’t the case anymore. This may be because the water extraction zone pumps more water all the time, because the demographics are growing”. (K, may 2022)

This area in particular is known for its growing demographics, because it’s a good place to build a house, thanks to the sandy grounds. 

Furthermore, Flanders and Belgium are known for having very little water per inhabitant – see graph above. This is partly to do with the very dense population that we have here, one of the densely populated regions in Europe.

“We are located near a water extraction area. It is located here abouts, in this corner [marks the water pumps on a map]. And this has influence on everything that is located around and its hard to tell if these plots should originally be dry or wet” (farmer, May 2022).

“They are pumping up water for a big part of East Flanders here”

To find other leads that can help us understand the drought and observe wetness in the dairy grasslands, click here!  

As I talk with farmers and local actors, asking about where is wet and where is dry, water extraction – where the drinking water a of an important part of the province comes from, comes up a lot. At first, I dismiss this thinking that it’s not really relevant to me understanding The Drought, but later I realise that I am quite wrong.


Sandy grounds?