Improving the natural water retention capacity and water supply to the downstream nature reserve ‘De Maten’ and transformation of the valley into a blue and green meeting place
Slagmolen is an unbuilt area, named after an ancient watermill, in the city of Genk where three streams flow together (Schabeek, Stiemerbeek, Dorpsbeek). This project area forms the gateway from the city of Genk to the Natura2000 area ‘De Maten’. The pond system of De Maten is highly dependent on sufficient and clean water as it is a water-dependent ecosystem. However, the Stiemerbeek, which is periodically polluted by sewage overflows during peak rainfall, brings sewage water to this pond system and thus threatens the fauna and flora. In addition, at present Slagmolen is a dull, unattractive area.
This project aims to provide clean water for De Maten. Therefore, an optimisation of the water supply with clean water of the Schabeek is being looked into. The Schabeek, at present only artificially separated from the polluted Stiemerbeek by a cement wall structure, could be separated from the Stiemerbeek and transformed into a naturally meandering stream throughout a wet marsh area. That way, the natural water retention capacity can be increased to prevent flooding.
Equally, together with local residents and partners, we will explore how to upgrade the area to an attractive, green and accessible meeting place with walking and cycling connections. This meeting place will form a connection between the nature reserve De Maten and the city center of Genk. The whole area will be a strip of green in the urban area.