July 12, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Chills for a new drama along Vesdre

Chills for a new drama along Vesdre

In its final report, issued in March 2022, the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee called for arming itself for the future. “The meteorological extreme could happen again tomorrow. Wallonia must be ready. The drama must not be repeated.”

Fifteen months later, that call resulted in the overall plan Scheme de la Visdre. The starting point is discovery Xavier Fittweisclimatologist at University of Liège. “It is feared that the Vesdre Valley will experience two more floods like the one in the summer of 2021 before the year 2050,” says Fettweis.

Climate scientist Xavier Fettweis: ‘It is feared that the Vesdre Valley will face another flood twice before 2050, as in 2021’

Fellow of the University of Liège Jack Teller, professor of spatial planning, agrees. “Stores with heavy rain that used to happen only once in a hundred years can now be expected every quarter of a century.”

This analysis will play a crucial role in the future redevelopment and development of risk areas. Teams from the University of Liège are working on a dynamic model of all areas at risk of flooding. That should be on the table in early 2024.

One of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee was to map flood-prone areas. These should be more detailed than the pre-flood maps, which were updated before.

downstream space

Predicate’s aggregate plan Scheme de la Visdre It can be taken literally. It applies not only to the places in the valley adjacent to the river, but also to the many plateaus and cliffs in the area. The plan contains a spearhead. On the other hand, it adheres to stricter rules for new buildings and construction plotsaOn the other hand to manage water better.

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Professor Jack Teller: We must ensure that the water in the valley drains faster

Dam operation is an essential part of water management. But roads are also being checked to allow more water to escape and to retain more water on slopes, including in built-up areas.

The degradation of forests and peat bogs over the past century has been accompanied by a loss of carrying capacity. This is necessary as frequent periods of intense rain and drought are expected during heat waves.

The mayors of the Feather Valley had their say in developing the comprehensive plan. “They often suggested creating buffer zones upstream from residential areas,” Teller says.

“We have to do exactly the opposite: make sure the water in the valley can be drained faster. With so much water, like in the summer of 2021, buffer zones fill up in an instant. Water needs to be given more space downstream to residential areas.” “.

stricter regulations

The second big hole Scheme de la Visdre Includes redrawing construction areas. “A radical element,” said the Minister of Spatial Planning and Deputy Prime Minister Wallon. Willy Borsos (MR) on display. “Space is limited and we cannot ignore climate change.”

Wallon Spatial Planning Minister Willy Borsos (MR): ‘We will make it impossible to build in an area at risk of flooding’

To modify zoning plans, areas with medium to high risk of flooding that are marked as building land, but not yet built upon, are considered. “Building in an area at risk of flooding is already becoming more difficult. But we are going to tighten the regulations, which will simply make it impossible,” Pursos said.

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The Deputy Prime Minister knows two things: It is a race against time and he must seek the widest possible support. “Time is running out. So we have to be very focused. The implementation of the new measures must be done in consultation with the population.”

According to Bursa, people will not just be evicted from their homes. Municipalities will be granted right of first refusal for homes already on the market. In practice, it threatens to turn out differently Quai Ferdinand Nicolaï in Pepinster, many homes have already been razed to the ground.

Turning the dump

It remains to be seen how low-lying residents of the Vesdre Valley will receive the new measures. The biggest flood victims live close to the poverty line, belong to single-parent families, are low-skilled, usually unemployed and often of foreign origin. Are they in danger of becoming a victim a second time?

On the way back from our trip, we took a detour along the A601, a deserted motorway north of Liège. We all remember the pictures: thousands of wrecked cars have been towed to a nearly five kilometer stretch that has been neglected since the end of 2014.

Floods in the Vesdre valley caused an unprecedented amount of waste: about 160,000 tons. 90,000 tons of this was dumped on this forgotten stretch of highway. Last year another 150,000 tons of sludge and soil were saved.

Two years later, there was no trace left of all these ruins. Few would dare to predict this in the summer of 2021. Nature has taken possession of the landfill of the past. The same nature that turned the Visdri Valley into a war zone two years ago.

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