More measures taken as Netherlands' spring drought continues
The public works department Rijkswaterstaat and water boards will take more measures against the drought this week. In the southeast of Noord-Brabant, pumping water from streams and ditches near Keersop is prohibited to protect plants and animals around the water. Rijskwaterstaat is raising the level of the IJsselmeer by a few centimeters, so that water extraction companies and the local authorities can supply more water from the lake if necessary.
Most of the Netherlands hasn't seen significant rain since the beginning of March. The next two weeks will be even warmer, with hardly any rain expected. The water level in the major rivers is low for the time of year and is expected to fall further, according to the drought monitor of the National Water Distribution Committee. The precipitation deficit is currently at a level that occurs once every twenty years and is increasing strongly. The deficit in May could exceed that of the record year 1976.
Water board De Dommel banned irrigation in the vicinity of Keersop and will check for compliance. The water in the ditches and streams is so low that the quality is at risk. Watering livestock and using water to fight fire is permitted. In a small part of De Dommel's working area, spraying water from fens, swimming pools, ponds, streams, and ditches has always been banned in the summer months. De Dommel wants to extend that ban because the area with many sandy soils suffers from drought every year. A decision about this will be made shortly.
Other areas of Noord-Brabant already banned irrigation. And farmers and horticulturists in Zeeland, Noord-Brabant, and Zuid-Gelderland, raised concerns that this early drought would result in failed harvests and potential food shortages.
Reporting by ANP