Starting on Wednesday, Wetterskip Fryslân will launch a “drought action centre” and will carry out further inspections of 600-kilometre’s worth of earthen dikes and quays in Friesland.
Translation by Traci White
Omrop Fryslân reports that the so-called action centre will coordinate inspections of 600-kilometres’s worth of dikes and quays that are built from peat: the earthen structures can develop cracks due to a lack of moisture and prolonged heat. There are 3,000-kilometre’s worth of such earthen structures across the whole province, and shallow ditches and other small ponds have already been dried out for weeks in Friesland. Some of the dikes and quays have already been inspected once, but a new round of inspections will be carried out soon.
Another measure to prevent water levels from decreasing further would be a watering ban and limiting the use of locks in areas like the Ijsselmeer and the waters near Stavoren and Lemmer. The National Water Distribution Committee will meet in Lelystad on Wednesday to discuss whether or not to implement a water prioritisation scheme which would strictly limit surface water use. The reasons that water could be used under the scheme are priorities: safety (firefighting), drinking and electricity are the most important, and shipping, agriculture, fishing on inland waterways and water recreation are less important.
Rain fall has been extremely limited for the past six weeks, and a heat wave is predicted to hit the Netherlands next week. The conditions this summer are the driest period since 1976: in that year, there was a precipitation deficit of 361 millimetres. This year, the deficit so far is 255 millimetres, but with a heat wave in the forecast for next week – including the distant possibility of temperatures exceeding 40 degrees – the precipitation shortfall may rival the record from 40 years ago.
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