Preventing and managing droughts and water excess are two of the most critical challenges for the coming decades. Businesses play a crucial role in this regard. A unique, traveling experiential container is now making it clear, in an interactive and practical manner, how industrial estates can collectively benefit from water. Today, the experiential container was inaugurated at the Tielt Noord industrial estate in West Flanders.

The water gains experiential container on industrial estates is an initiative under the Blue Deal project Vlaanderen WaterProof, conducted by VITO on behalf of the Flemish government. Four virtual characters – a climate project advisor, a farmer, a sustainability manager, and a green service employee – lead visitors through a realistic audio narrative about water gains. Interactive installations provide visitors with a clear understanding of practical, effective interventions for water-sustainable business sites.

Jean de Bethune, chairman of POM West Flanders and a partner in the Vlaanderen WaterProof project, commented: "Sustainable water management is a cornerstone of our approach to Business Parks of the Future. This concept aims to enhance the sustainability of existing regional industrial estates in West Flanders. VITO's experiential container brings the possibilities for sustainable water management to life, inspiring all stakeholders to take collaborative action. That's why we wholeheartedly support this initiative and eagerly anticipate implementing fresh ideas on the ground."

Join forces for water gains

As individual businesses, you can take actions for your own premises. But significant gains are only achieved when we join forces, enabling larger-scale impact. That's why there's much to be gained collectively from water management on industrial estates. Making strides involves replacing high-quality tap water or scarce groundwater (partly) with sustainable alternatives like rainwater. Sustainable water sources can ensure both the production of water-intensive industries, such as textiles, and agricultural yields.

At Tielt Noord, the Vlaanderen WaterProof project showcases how to approach this on and around an entire industrial estate. It's not easy because such heavily paved environments pose challenges for sustainable water management. Nevertheless, we can restore the balance between periods of too much and too little water, even there.

Katrien Moubax, Water & Environmental Planner at Aquafin and a partner in the Vlaanderen WaterProof project, emphasizes the importance of a climate-resilient road construction, utilising the subfoundation as an infiltration buffer to maximise rainwater infiltration even in highly paved areas. The intelligent management and connection of water buffers on and around the industrial estate facilitate sharing water among companies and other nearby water users, such as agriculture and landscaping. This gives water a valuable second life locally!

On the other hand, greening industrial premises, which entails de-paving, creates a healthy and pleasant working environment and improves water infiltration into the soil. Thus, we achieve two goals at once, making the industrial estate more resilient to drought and water excess.

The water experiential container on tour

The experiential container is mobile and will travel throughout Flanders, settling at targeted locations. The water container will be part of events such as the Flanders Technology and Innovation Festival, taking place in Hasselt from 16 - 21 March and the closing festival in Antwerp on 23 & 24 March. Please contact to explore the possibilities of planning a visit with your organisation.

For more information, visit or contact the communication manager, Maaike Vandekerckhove, at

The content of the experiential container is based on the plans and findings of the Vlaanderen WaterProof demonstration project at the Tielt Noord industrial estate. Water gains is a campaign of the Vlaanderen WaterProof initiative, executed by VITO on behalf of the Flemish government. Through close collaboration with strong partners for local demonstrations, Vlaanderen WaterProof can put research and innovation into practice through concrete implementations in Flanders. In Tielt, VITO is working with project partners Aquafin, De Watergroep, POM West Flanders, and WVI.

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