Growers unite en masse in Dutch flood-prevention project
03 March 2020
Growers from the Westland area (South Holland, the Netherlands) are working together en masse to help prevent flooding in the area. Twenty-five Dutch companies are offering their water basins to catch part of the rainfall coming from heavy rain showers. This year, another ten are added to that list.
To celebrate the joining of the 25th project Rainlevelr member, the Dutch Delfland Water Authority (Delfland) decided to throw a little party. The festivities took place at Lugt Lisianthus in Monster (South Holland, the Netherlands). Lugt Lisianthus are not only a brand new grower of flowers in the area; they are also the 25th member to join.
“We are very pleased with these twenty-five (Rainlevelr members])”, says Saskia Jouwersma, project leader at Delfland. “And of course with all of the growers who are still in the intake phase of the project and shall be joining as members this year. There are about ten in total.”
To combat the increase in flooding in the Westland area, project Rainlevelr came into existence back in 2012. The project initially started out as a trial. This is how it works: Whenever any heavy rainfall approaches, Delfland informs the Rainlevelr members about the expected downpour and asks them to create space in their water basins or silos. That water will flow to the surface water allowing Delfland to drain it before the downpour starts. Once it starts pouring, there will be additional space available in the water basins to catch the rainwater.
Growers who build a new company, and who also receive a water basin as part of the deal, can install the Rainlevelr system at no charge; it is fully paid for by Delfland . Jouwersma shares that “even if the foil of a basin gets replaced, this [still] offers opportunities”. Why? “Because you will have to create a passage through the body of the dyke; if you do that by piercing the foil, the basin can start to leak. You definitely want to avoid that.”
“Contributing towards a dryer Westland doesn’t require much effort”, according to Marcel van der Lugt who is the owner of Lugt Lisianthus.
Lugt Lisianthus has recently built a brand-new company of six hectares. He was approached to join. “Ten, fifteen years ago, there were many issues with flooding in Westland”, grower Marcel van der Lugt recalls. “If you are then going to build something new and all costs are reimbursable, that is a great time to join. In that case, contributing towards a dryer Westland doesn’t require much (additional) effort.”
Van der Lugt has a sizeable water buffer of 16,500 cubic meters and is therefore able contribute a lot. Together, the twenty-five Rainlevelr members have 139-hectares worth of greenhouses. Adding in the ten companies joining this year, you are looking at 200 hectare in total.
Source: AD (Dutch)