SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Wednesday’s thunderstorms caused flooding in the north and east of the country but with more warm weather on the way the rain will do little to mitigate the effects of the drought.
Heavy downpours in Hardenberg in Overijssel flooded streets and some homes, while in Beilen and Elim in Drenthe pedestrians also got their feet wet.
Lightning destroyed the chimney of a house in Elburg in Gelderland and some homes and businesses were flooded, local media reported.
Although more rain is expected on Friday, the meteorological office KNMI is forecasting dry and sunny weather for the rest of August.
The Netherlands is now in its third week of official water shortage and while the rain will raise water tables locally for a couple of days, more structural measures are being planned to combat the effects of the drought, broadcaster NOS reported on Thursday.
The government’s designated water shortage management team MTW is working on a number of measures to prevent salinisation, especially in coastal regions.
Among them is a so-called ‘bubble screen’, a pipe on the bottom of the Noordzeekanaal near the Zeeburg lock which produces a curtain of air bubbles to create a vertical current and stop salt seeping in.
Another measure will see the power station at Diemen used to carry freshwater from the Markermeer to the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal. River levels are still falling, with the Rhine at its lowest level ever, it emerged on Thursday.
A one-way system could be imposed on the IJssel from a depth of 1.45m, which will force some ships to take a different route. The effect of the drought is hitting nature, shipping, and agriculture hardest at the moment although industry may also start to feel the effects.
Drinking water provision is not under threat.