The City of Mechelen, one of the Water4All partners allowed discovering their “Living Lab” and how they give back the water its “rights” by restoring wetlands and canals and how it also improves the quality of life of residents.
As a side event of Water4All kick-off meeting (October 13), the City of Mechelen organised a visit to this beautiful city where challenges and opportunities posed by water are observable, even by the untrained eye.
The walking tour started with the surroundings of the city, which are natural reserves. the visit continued with a walk to the centre of Mechelen where the River Dyle runs in and out of the city.
In terms of activities, the City of Mechelen has collaborated on initiatives to better integrate water, nature and biodiversity. The benefits to society and the environment are already visible. This long-term sustainable project is still in development.
The implementation of three different European cooperation initiatives since 2000 has improved life quality and nature respect.
- Water in historic city centres, Interreg West-Europe: It revitalised the function of watercourses in Mechelen city.
- Water resilient cities, Interreg 2 seas: it manages heavy rainfall and creates buffer capacity in the built. Seven old river canals in the inner city area were also reopened, and old quay walls were restructured.
- Wetlands 4 Cities, Life Climate: this current programme aims to infiltrate extra water into the soil to strengthen the sponge effect and preserve wetlands. They are a protection against flooding and water scarcity. They also store CO2, provide green air conditioning in overheated urban areas and are a biodiversity hotspot.