Located in Limburg (NL), the village of Oirsbeek in the municipality of Schinnen is vulnerable to flooding due to large amounts of rainwater coming down from the steep slopes that surround it. Recent years have seen severe rain overload the sewer system, at times leaving much of the village of Oirsbeek underwater. This dire situation lead the Municipality of Schinnen to take ground-breaking measures, tackling the problem with an innovative water collection buffer using Rockflow, a sub-grade water management system utilising stone wool.
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.