The Flood Lock

What is it doing there - in the middle of the countryside? It is a summer embankment that can certainly be flooded. At such times, the Rhine is admitted through the lock. If the river were allowed to pass uncontrolled over the top of the embankment, there would be damage and even broken embankments. But the flood lock also reminds us of the olden days when there were no artificial fertilisers. In winter it was opened during floods to admit the Rhine. It then brought nutrients with it. When the people were ready to get rid of it, they did so once again through the lock. Near Rees, therefore, a flood lock was built into the embankment dam at the instigation of farmers so that certain areas could be flooded in a controlled manner. Thanks to an embankment built at that time, the floods had stopped and the soils had deteriorated. But the times have changed. Fertilisers have rendered the floods superfluous and, furthermore, nowadays they would deposit poisonous pollutants. So the Rhine has now become a less welcome visitor. Floods have therefore become rarer, which is quite a challenge for the native flora and fauna and can endanger their future. However, sometimes the Rhine resists this regulation and shows the local residents that it is still a dangerous river. Not for nothing is the Wickermanns' farm on a mound. When the Rhine floods, this artificial hill is an island. In the big flood of 1995 the uninvited guest came right up to the front door, meaning that they were all set to evacuate the people and animals. But everything ended well and the retreat of the water was also speeded up by the flood lock.

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