On 25 April, Flemish Minister for Public Works, Ben Weyts, and the Flemish Minister for Nature, Koen Van den Heuvel travelled by canoe along the new Demer Bend between Diest and Scherpenheuvel-Zichem. It is the first of dozens of meanders that had been cut off to be reconnected in order to combat the danger of flooding and drought.
With one stroke, this will make the entire vicinity of the Demer far more pleasant for both animals and people. The Demer was straightened a few decades ago by blocking off meanders, leaving the river with less room to flow, which increased the danger of flooding. As part of the Demer Valley Sigma Project, dozens of bends between Diest and Werchter, which had been cut off, are being reconnected to the river. This first reconnection is taking place as part of the Life Belini project.
Reconnecting old meanders provides extra room for water to flow, making high water levels on the Demer more manageable. This also results in a more varied, beautiful and ecological landscape. The surrounding banks of the first meander in Vinkenberg are being arranged in a natural manner over a distance of 500 metres.