City River: sustainable water policy

On the East Bank in Ostend, nearly all traditional gutters have disappeared from Victoriastraat. They have been replaced by the 'City River'. This open system not only looks appealing, but also ensures that water is used sustainably.

An entirely new neighbourhood is gradually appearing on the East Bank. The rainwater ending up on the public domain along redeveloped Victorialaan is collected in a central reservoir called the 'City River'. This water is then slowly discharged into an underground water buffer. 

Through this innovative construction, the City of Ostend is investing in a sustainable water policy. Ostend Climate Manager Kris Delvaux describes the project as follows: “It is an innovative method of rainwater collection, catchment and retention." 

The water that ends up in the City River is used for different purposes. The green areas next to the reservoir draw water from it to grow, and the water is also used for cleaning the nearby docks. In addition, the water also has a cooling effect on the neighbourhood during hot spells.

To the north of the reservoir, gutters are absent from Victorialaan and have been replaced by green areas laid out on top of a gravel drainage layer. "The water from conventional storm drains is collected into gravel layers so it can seep into the soil," Kris explains.

The City River project and the redevelopment of Victorialaan fit within the European SCAPE project. In this EU-funded project, several coastal cities from Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom look for solutions to water management problems connected with climate change.

The ultimate goal is to adapt and improve the resilience of coastal landscapes to climate change. In case of the City River, this goal seems to have been achieved. 


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