The Route of Water

We made a start today with filming in the Netherlands. The next step for our new exhibition Climate Stories in the Museon. We want to hear stories about the effects of climate change in the lowland area around the Museon and Delfland. But not only tales, also images. The camera has been cleaned, the African sands are removed and the battery is recharged. The difference with Kenya is huge. The Samburu, the shepherds from North Kenya, are all confronted directly with droughts and shorter recovery periods between them. Here in the Netherlands we, citizens, do not worry about the daily rising sea levels, the salinity of the soil or desiccation of the dikes. We rely on our experts and directors, who measure water levels and dehydration and will take the necessary measures. For our first story we follow the path of rainwater from the Delfse hinterland to sea. How do we keep in this low-lying area on the ground level up but the feet dry. Our first expert today is Anton Wevers, the manager of pumping station Schouten at Scheveningen. He is waiting for us when we step of our bikes. He has spent half his working life as manager of the pumping station. He knows the pumps, the valves and their sounds as a seamstress knows her sewing machine. “I will show you how we pump water into the sea when too much rain falls.” Anton looks happily into the camera and tells how he used to put a cot in the pumping station when the radio predicted heavy weather. He slept beside the buttons to be able to immediately intervene by opening up the pumping doors open. Nowadays, the controlroom of the Water Board in Vlaardingen monitors the water levels. Anton hears from them whether he needs to step in. Therefore our next stop is Vlaardingen. We end up in an office room filled with monitors. It is impressive how the Water Board has the whole area ofDelfland Water accurately mapped. Every ditch, gully, pipe and puddle is monitored. Jan Dragt and his colleagues are designing computer programs that collect the data from those ditches and gullies and tunes it into green and red, safe and danger flags. We can not resist to explore the edges of the danger. “Jan, what happens if it rains very havy for a week and the computers fail…?” “We have people everywhere in the field who also monitor the situation with their own eyes. And then we just give a call to the the sluices and pumping stations. Do not worry.” “Phew, lucky us. I’m going to pay my overdue water tax tomorrow! Anne-Marie Boer

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