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Water farmers

Smartland designed an innovative and integrated plan to revitalise river basins in Gelderland. The plan, with a site at De Lucht A2 in Bommelerwaard as a concrete elaboration, is about transforming dilapidated farms in parched river basins into vital new farms focused on wet agriculture. 'Water farms', particularly focused on croos fern and cattail cultivation, which has now proven to have high value, as a building material, animal feed or as a basis for bioenergy. But the plan goes much wider than just agricultural value.

The wet crops are particularly resilient to water level fluctuations, allowing the water farms to also serve as water storage for nearby urban areas. It prevents flooding of the lower parts of the basin during peak showers, but also saves water for dry periods. In addition, they serve as water purification, of urban street water, but also, for instance, as post-purification of local sewage plants. This provides not only fertiliser for the crops, but also cleaner water for the environment. The project itself is also emphatically designed to be nature-inclusive, by deliberately leaving space for strips of wet hay meadow, characteristic of river basins.

Finally, we also gave this elaboration a recreational character, by creating lines of sight over the water and through the area from the A2 motorway and service area De Lucht, with walking and plank paths, an information centre for wet farming and a hub for canoe and bicycle recreation.

We won third place with our plan Waterboeren out of 58 submitted plans.

Location: Bommelerwaard, NL

Status: Third price

Team: Smartland

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