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St-Pieters-Leeuw - Reconstruction of the Zuunbeek

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The Flemish Environment Agency is working on an integral redevelopment project along the Zuunbeek in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw. The works will limit the flooding in Negenmanneke and promote the ecological and scenic recovery of the Zuunbeek.

In the past, the natural catchment area of the Zuunbeek was mainly adapted to, for example, supply the existing water mills with sufficient water. About forty years ago, the stream has been straightened and deepened to allow a speedy discharge of excess water. Wetlands were filled up and  paved areas, such as new roads and houses, increased. The accelerated drainage and the increased paving was the cause of increased floodings downstream at Negenmanneke.

De Zuunbeek and her valley are now better equipped. There will be more room for water storage by making the brook meander and by creating flood plains. Meanders ensure diversity through steep and soft banks, deep and shallow parts. That way, there are parts where the water flows faster and more slowly. This increases the self-cleaning ability of the watercourse and increases the biodiversity in the stream and its banks.

The works have been divided into four subprojects, of which Ghent Dredging has carried out the first subproject Volsembroek.

At the beginning new meanders have been dug. The straightened Zuun has been filled up in some areas, but in most places the straightened Zuun has been retained and will serve as an emergency overflow and storage at high water levels. Upstream of the project area no new meanders will be dug, but "flow deflectors" have been placed in the water.Due to these obstacles in the water, the watercourse is forced to find a different route and, as a result, the watercourse will begin to wriggle itself.

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A new dam was built near the existing Volsem storage basin. This can regulate the water level upstream. In addition, a dike was constructed to allow the nature reserve behind the dike to serve as a controlled flood area during heavy rainfall. This flooding area has a capacity of 204.000m³.

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