Local Heart, Global Soul

November 30, 2014

The Water We Play With And Then Throw Away…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,Traditionally Dutch — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Today’s post is a yet another illustration of something else very typically Dutch: the aqueduct.

The national stereotype  of a country filled with canals is there for a reason, because the country is filled almost end to end with canals and waterways of all shapes and sizes.

Most people of course know about the famous Dutch sea defences, that’s lesser known is that in a country that is largely below sea level and thus with a water table that’s higher than the surrounding land, that it’s necessary to continually pump water off the land twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days of the year. And the extra day in Leap years.

There’s an entire Government department dedicated to water management. During storms, cloud bursts and long periods of rain, teams of experts monitor water levels around the country.

If it rains hard in the upper reaches of the Rhine River in Germany and flooding starts, all that water has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is going to to be further down-stream in The Netherlands. Every single Low tide, water that has been pumped off the land is emptied into the sea.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Netherlands is like a little boat with a slow leak that’s always requires bailing.  That’s why  twice a year we have a problem with the high Spring and Autumn tides. If these occur at the same time as large storms the sea level will be so high a low tide that the pumping out of the stored land water can not take place.

Many of the Dutch waterways are also used as commercial and recreational highways.  I’ve lost count of the amount of times in the last twenty years I’ve sat at a car at red light with the roadway in front of me tilted up to allow sailing vessels to go by. Sometimes though, when the road concerned is a motorway, a better solution than a tilting bridge has to be found, and this alternative is the aqueduct. This is basically where the canal goes over the road, ( or the road goes under the canal, take your pick) not a drinking water canal as per aqueducts of Roman times, but to carry  boat traffic. The one in my photographs is in Gouda (Yes, where the famous cheese comes from).

Make no mistake though, these canals are also very expensive feats of engineering and are not just there to benefit the whims of recreational boaties, the water in them is also very conveniently some of the water extracted from the land and is on it’s way to the sea to be pumped out when the next low tide comes around.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


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