Climate change is creating erratic weather patterns. Whereas seasons used to lazily follow each other up, we now have to deal with periods of extreme drought and severe rainfall. Robust water management can protect us against these new challenges.

Industrial water

Flanders has many water-dependent sectors: energy production, agriculture, the chemical industry, etc. Water is highly versatile; it is used, among other things, for spraying, as a coolant and as a means of transport. VITO wants to arm Flemish agriculture and the economy against the effects of climate change. We evaluate the water requirements and provide options for using less water and/or using wastewater for new purposes. A good example used by VLAKWA here is Ardo, a producer of frozen vegetables, which will be purifying its wastewater and reusing it as irrigation water for farmland from 2018 onwards.

Urban climate

Cities are also noticing the impact of climate change. On hot days, they transform into ‘heat islands’, where temperatures rise much higher than in rural areas. To improve its advice to local authorities, VITO has developed the UrbClim computer model with support from the EU and the ESA. It calculates hourly air temperatures for an entire city, both now and in the future. The expertise built up by VITO is converted into a series of practical urban climate services. Our experts monitor the climate in a city, make short- and long-term predictions, find out where new hotspots are occurring and study the effects of having more water or vegetation in the city. The system has already been used successfully in cities such as London, Paris and Berlin.


Good collaboration is crucial for making our water system more robust. If all the players in the water sector work together, we will be better equipped to overcome periods of water shortage or surplus. VITO is taking part in the Climate-KIC - a European collaboration agreement where innovative solutions to climate problems are developed.