Investigate and optimize the operation of six pumping installations that have been pumping water away for years in the subsidence area in Heuden-Zolder. That is the task of the VLM as a partner in the European Interreg project Green WIN. We hope that there will be less pumping in the future as a result. Collecting more water and allowing it to penetrate into the soil would also benefit nature in the Mangelbeek valley. At the same time, there must be sufficient water for agriculture, and flooding for the residents must be avoided. Stan Forier, project leader, talks about the hydrological precision work we are doing in the Mangelbeek valley as part of Green WIN.
What exactly does the Green WIN project entail?
Green WIN is a North-West European Interreg project that aims to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from pumping installations at water managers.
Within the project, the partners are investigating how they can reduce the CO2 emissions of the pumps. They look at which technical interventions they can carry out, how they can use the pumps more efficiently and how they can optimize the water management.
As a partner, VLM is actually an outsider in this project. After all, we are not a water manager or conduct research on pumping installations. Why did we get involved in this project and what does VLM use the European resources for?
The VLM is a partner in Green WIN through the land development plan Mijn Mangelbeek in Heusden-Zolder.
In this land development plan we want to improve, among other things, the water management and water management of the mine subsidence area in Zolder. Six pumping installations have ensured for decades that the water does not cause any nuisance to residents and farmers. These pumps are included as a case study in the Green WIN project. We can then reuse the knowledge we build up through Green WIN in future land use plans. After all, the mine subsidence problem occurs in several stream valleys of De Wijers.
What exactly are you researching?
We want to see whether the pumping operation in the Mangelbeek valley can be made more ecologically and cheaply. We want to adapt water management in such a way that in the future there will be less pumping, or even better, that pumping can even be avoided in some places. As a result, we ensure a smaller ecological footprint of the pumps. After all, the pumps in the area are old and energy-consuming. In addition, these measures ensure that the effects of climate change are reduced. By pumping less, wetting occurs. In this way we also realize additional wet nature in the valley in one movement, where water can be collected and infiltrated into the soil.