Heikanthoeve

Weir

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Heikanthoeve

Case Study Contents

About Farm

Farm Name

Heikanthoeve

Year of foundation

1999

Location

Limburg, Flanders

Farm area/size of the organisation:

Medium (20-100 ha)

Number of workers:

<5

Farm main activity:

Livestock

Climate and soil characteristics

Temperate climate with 925 mm of precipitation yearly.

Sandy soils.

BE01_02

Measure Information

Description of the measure

A weir is a small construction in a ditch or stream that enables the landowner to regulate the water level and to allow the water to infiltrate in the soil.

Objective of the measure

To improve the water management of the farm.

Justification of the choice

It is an easily implementable measure at relatively low cost.

Description of the situation before the measure implementation

Previously, when the weir was not installed and functioning, it was not possible to control the water levels.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders involved

Watering De Dommel

Description of stakeholders’ role

Financial support via Interreg

Implementation phase

Materials used

  • RSV,
  • Wood,
  • Aluminium

Utilization of subsidies

Financial support via Interreg

Implementation / building

Use of a small digger machine

Required maintenance operations

Manual operation of removing or adding weir-plates

Recommended knowledge / skills / training / courses / education desired before starting the measure implementation:

The measure is very easy to be implemented and does not require specific skills.

Impacts

Using weirs can reduce the need for overhead irrigation in times of drought and reduces downstream water flooding in wet season since water is stored locally.
The measure aids local natural areas that depend on high groundwater levels.
Weirs might hinder fish migration if implemented in fish carrying waters.

Innovation

Innovation elements

It is not a highly innovative measure, but simple and effective.

Key element for success

Keeping the weir-plates in the weir for the maximum time possible. More weirs in nearby ditches will increase the effects.

Constraints

Physical constraints

The weir must be accessible for manual handling.

Weirs can cause water to stand still, which can cause anaerobic conditions, particularly in hot weather.

Technological constraints

Permit requirements are a limitation and are perhaps justified only for weirs in fish-migrating streams.

Acceptance constraints

None, except in fish-migrating streams

Proposed solutions to above constraints

Proper planning and desktop analysis

Gallery

Lesson learned

Farmers’ experiences

The farmer is satisfied with the effects of the measure, that is maintaining control over the land and its water levels.

Testimonies

“How many plates we remove depends on the parcels. The knowledge of the terrain is important. We know that the water level should not exceed 30 to 40 cm below ground in order to allow heavy machinery to access the field.”

Measure sustainability

Environmental sustainability

If properly managed – avoiding excessive waterlogging – and designed – avoiding fish-migrating streams – the environmental sustainability is ensured.

Economical sustainability

Weirs are cost-effective in the sense that once established, they can remain operational for many decades at little or no cost, with clear advantages for pasture productivity

Transfer of the measure

Replicability conditions required

Approvement of farmer, in Belgium a license is needed for installing a weir.

Conclusion remarks

A weir is a simple but effective measure that can help to improve water management and pasture productivity, reducing flood and drought impacts.

Open problems

  • Installation costs should decrease.
  • A digital tool should be worked out to find search areas for weirs by desktop analysis.
  • Project funds should stop emphasizing ”innovative techniques” and allow for solid techniques that have proven their use to be rolled out on a larger scale.

AGRIWATER project has been funded with the support from the European Commission, with the reference number 2020-1-CZ01-KA204-078212. The content of this website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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