Pauline Borremans

Pauline Borremans

Recharging Flanders' waterbattery. UHasselt (Belgium)

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EAP 2021 Pauline Borremans


RECHARGING FLANDERS’ WATERBATTERY. A new identity for the Wijers.

The effects of climate warming are increasingly visible in the Flemish landscape. Despite an increase in the annual average precipitation, Flanders is experiencing dehydration of the subsurface. There is an urgent need for a large-scale landscape vision to guarantee the local extraction of drinking water in the future. A strategic location to partially solve the water problem is in De Wijers. This is a seepage area on the edge of the Campine Plateau where the marshlands are rapidly being drained to develop the land.

By transforming agricultural and natural areas into a paludicultural landscape, the wet biotopes are expanded, and farmers are given a sustainable earning model. Paludiculture is an innovative concept in which crops are grown on wet soils with high and strongly varying groundwater levels. In our region, this landscape can be used to produce regenerative building materials. To further develop and optimise research on this, a research centre is being built on the site where the university, together with companies and local farmers, can explore the possibilities of the new landscape. The centre is built as a prototype for the new building materials and is partly equipped as a visitor centre to introduce interested parties to the new crops. The pilot project will start with a few hectares of paludal cultivation and, as the research progresses, it will expand throughout De Wijers. By transforming the landscape, the plateau’s water battery can be restored and potable water guaranteed for the future.

 De Wijers is now the showcase for paludiculture in Flanders. This landscape forms the pivot of research into sustainable wet cultivation and entices national and international researchers and nature lovers to visit this unique water landscape.

By transforming agricultural and natural areas into a paludicultural landscape, the wet biotopes are expanded, and farmers are given a sustainable earning model. Paludiculture is an innovative concept in which crops are grown on wet soils with high and strongly varying groundwater levels. In our region, this landscape can be used to produce regenerative building materials. To further develop and optimise research on this, a research centre is being built on the site where the university, together with companies and local farmers, can explore the possibilities of the new landscape. The centre is built as a prototype for the new building materials and is partly equipped as a visitor centre to introduce interested parties to the new crops. The pilot project will start with a few hectares of paludal cultivation and, as the research progresses, it will expand throughout De Wijers. By transforming the landscape, the plateau’s water battery can be restored and potable water guaranteed for the future.

De Wijers is now the showcase for paludiculture in Flanders. This landscape forms the pivot of research into sustainable wet cultivation and entices national and international researchers and nature lovers to visit this unique water landscape.

EAP 2021 Pauline Borremans Model 1

EAP 2021 Pauline Borremans Model 2
  
EAP 2021 Pauline Borremans Model 3


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