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Climate Changing? Meuse Adapting!

Tuesday, december 1 2009

News from the nv De Scheepvaart

Maïté FOURNIER (EPAMA) | Albert Kanaal, Lock of Ham

The nv De Scheepvaart (AMICE partner 9) launched a press release on the planned pumps on the Albert Canal. One of these pumps, the one on the lock at Ham is part of AMICE.

The Albert Canal and the Campine Canals are fed with water from the river Meuse. In The Netherlands too some canals, for example the Juliana Canal, are fillde with Meuse water.

The water from the Albert Canal and the Campine Canals serves different applications. In the first place it is the operating water for the sluices that serve the inland shipping trade. This trade takes on a daily basis about 6000 lorries from the highways.
In a second place the water is also used for the production of drinking water for the Antwerp conurbation, as cooling water for electricity plants, as processwater for industry and at last also to irrigate farmerland and nature reserves.

At normal precipitations there is enough water in the Meuse to provide for the different needs of the Albert Canal and the Campine Canals. However the Meuse is a rain-fed-river which means that the flow can be very low in long, dry periods. At these moments it is possible that there is not enough water in the Meuse to feed all of the canals.

In 1995 a treaty was signed between Flanders and The Netherlands to regulate the distribution of the water in periods of low flows. In these periods the nv De Scheepvaart in its role as the water manager of the Albert Canal and the Campine Canals must take measures in order to reduce the use of the water in these canals. Gathering the ships together before the sluices and guiding them through together is one of the possibilities. To reduce or temporarly stop certain uses is another one.

In the future more structural measures will be necessary in order to cope with possible water shortages as the need for water in the canals increases. This is due for a greater part to the succes of the inland shipping trade. Professional inland shipping increased by 60% since 1995. The consumption of water also increases in the other applications. At last according to scientific research draughts will become more severe due to climate changes.

According again to scientific research the installations of pumps on all of the sluice-complexes of the Albert Canal (Genk, Diepenbeek, Hasselt, Ham, Olen and Wijnegem) would be the best measure to prevent problems due to low flows. Thanks to these pumps part of the shipping water used in the sluices can be pumped upstreams again. By doing so the netto-consumption by the sluices is reduced without impacting the other water users.

The nv De Scheepvaart will design the pumping installations in such a way that in normal times, when there is enough water, they function as water power plants. This is possible thanks to important differences in level at the sluices in the AlbertCanal. In this way the pumps also contribute to reaching the European guidelines about the production of enery from durable sources. The water power plants will produce energy for about 10.000 households.

The water in the Albert Canal has a relatively good quality and lots of fish live there. The nv De Scheepvaart has therefore chosen to apply an innovative and ecologically sound design as to minimize the impact of the pumps on the fish populations.

The works are to start during the summer of 2010, by 2016 all of the pumping installations and water power plants should be operating.

More can be read in the different newspapers (in Dutch):
•    http://www.standaard.be/artikel/detail.aspx?artikelid=DMF20091110_058
•    http://www.standaard.be/artikel/detail.aspx?artikelid=GA2HQTJ8
•    http://www.politics.be/persmededelingen/23750/
•    http://www.gva.be/antwerpen/olen/uniek-zes-waterkrachtcentrales-op-albertkanaal-3.aspx
•    http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/957/Belgie/article/detail/1027793/2009/11/10/Regering-bouwt-pompinstallaties-en-waterkrachtcentrales-op-Albertkanaal.dhtml
•    http://www.demorgen.be/dm/nl/5036/Wetstraat/article/detail/1027793/2009/11/10/Regering-bouwt-pompinstallaties-en-waterkrachtcentrales-op-Albertkanaal.dhtml
 

Attached documents :

The Partners involved in this news :

  • nv De Scheepvaart
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