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Rijkswaterstaat helps to pump away excess rainwater in France

Published on: 24 November 2023 - Latest update: 29 November 2023, 16:13

In the north of France, houses and streets are flooded due to extreme levels of rainwater that has fallen there. The country has requested emergency help from the EU. An expert team from the Netherlands has been despatched to provide assistance with 4 emergency pumps.

The team travelled with the 4 pumps in 3 goods vehicles to the French town of Dunkerque. There, around 15 - 20 m3 of water per minute is currently being pumped away, which equates to 900 - 1200 m3 per hour. With the help of our pumping systems, that will be stepped up to 5000 m3 of water per hour.

As one of our experts explains to the media, ‘The problem is that the drainage channels run through many surrounding areas. That means that a lot of villages are affected. Enough rain for 6 months, under normal circumstances, has just fallen in a single month. You could hardly expect people to be prepared for something like that. It's an example of the power of nature.’

Surface run-off flooding

Much rain has fallen in the past few weeks, not just in the Netherlands; in Belgium and France, too. In some places, this has led to surface run-off flooding. In the Netherlands, the water boards and Rijkswaterstaat have the situation under control. Where necessary, extra measures have been taken using emergency pumps and extra water drainage.

Patricia Zorko, deputy Director-General of Rijkswaterstaat has decided that these pumps can better be moved to France. ‘We at Rijkswaterstaat have some 225 years' experience in dealing with excess water. The situation in France demands urgent attention, so our team of experts is happy to lend a hand. With these pumps, we can hopefully make sure that the consequences of the adverse weather conditions are kept to a minimum.’

Water levels and water removal

Rijkswaterstaat and the water boards have sufficient equipment to get rid of the excess water in their own country quickly, so they can help those in other countries. The Netherlands has 20 emergency pumps in total. 10 of these can handle 5 m3 of water per hour and the other 10 3 m3 of water per hour.