New course of Buurserbeek to combat drought

A bit of history is necessary to explain the need to work on a future-proof landscape right now. The history of the Lankheet estate, which can be found between Haaksbergen and Eibergen, goes back to at least 800 years ago when the grasslands were irrigated by local seeps as a form of natural fertilisation. The seep water was rich in lime and minerals, and the layer of water protected the turf from frost and harmful insects in winter. This method of irrigation yielded such good results in the Middle Ages that one could hay up to three times in one season. That was a remarkably high yield for that time. The hay was food for cattle and their manure went onto the fields. A kind of self-sufficient system, in other words. Gerrit Jan van Heek reintroduced the system on his estate at the end of the 19th century. 
However, it no longer worked due to the advent of artificial fertiliser and the canalisation of the Buurserbeek, and he soon had to abandon this flood meadow system.

In short:

People are working on a future-proof landscape on the Lankheet estate
The goal: saving every single drop of wate

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Landscape of the future

The reclamation of the heathland and the canalisation had more consequences. When you consider that a drop of water that had fallen in Germany used to take more than 16 days to reach the Ijssel River, and now covers that distance in 9 hours, you realise that this does not help counteract dehydration and flooding. The owners of the Lankheet estate, who restored part of the historic flood meadow system in 1999, already realised this at the end of the last century. The flood meadows act as a sort of ‘sponge’ for the storage, retention and gradual draining of water. The system contributes to a climate-proof landscape and to the promotion of biodiversity in this way. It also contributes to many other goals: combating dehydration, restoring nature, realising water storage, and making historical heritage accessible again for hikers. The local seeps proved insufficient to achieve these goals, so a plan was devised to use water from the Buurserbeek on the meadows. This water would be purified in reed basins and then returned to the Buurserbeek through the old water system on the estate. The water takes silt with it, which provides natural fertilisation and is beneficial to soil organisms. This will have several positive results: the storage and purification of surface water, the restoration of nature next to the stream, the production of biomass for sustainable energy and a recreationally interesting environment. 

Saving every single drop of water

A recent success was the creation of a new course for a large part of the Buurserbeek. The embankments have been removed here. The stream is starting to resemble the Geul in the south of Limburg; it removes sand from its own banks and is becoming shallower. The groundwater level rises as a result, and the landscape can ‘flow along’ at high water levels. This helps combat dehydration. Several compensatory projects could be carried out on the estate because of the recent construction of the new N18 motorway. These projects mainly consisted of restoring damaged nature. The estate has one goal: not wasting a single drop of water anymore. 

Date: 16 June 2022 |

Source of tekst: Waterschap Vechtstromen |

Author: Maaike Thüss

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