Ton Peeters, Water Management Expert at the Municipality of Schinnen explains that following the severe flooding, one of the measures the authorities considered was the construction of a swale under Oirsbeek’s main village square. A swale, being a shallow valley or channel that retains water, is a common water management strategy in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, this strategy met resistance from locals. ‘The square was well used in the village, hosting community activities and serving as an ideal site for tents and other amenities during festivities, something that would be compromised by the swale.’ Looking for a solution that would resolve flooding issues, while not only maintaining but enhancing the urban public sphere, the Municipality reached out to a contact from Lapinus, a subsidiary of Rockwool, who proposed the Rockflow solution.
Rockflow is a sub-grade water management system that buffers extreme rainfall quickly and efficiently, allowing it to be ultimately infiltrated in the soil or directed towards a sewer. Rockflow stone wool elements can absorb 95% of their volume in water within a very short time and have a throughput speed of 200 metres per day. Installed below the ground surface, there is no loss of urban space and vehicles can even park on top of the system without any deformation or loss of functionality.