Palace n°20 (called "Water and Health") - Expo Liege 1939

Palace n°20 (called
© Jacoby
Architect(s) : Montrieux, Rousch, Selerin et Snyers

These four palaces, 17-18-19-20, known as the "Belgian" palaces, were built along the water garden. They formed one of the most successful ensembles of the Exhibition. Although treated with simplicity, the architectural composition revealed a great deal of research into the balance of the masses and the good distribution of solids and voids. The materials used to clad the façades were judiciously chosen. There was no lack of original ideas, such as the large canopies overhanging the roofs, supported by elegant Grey beams whose nakedness underlined the boldness of the composition. We should also mention the graphic of the Belgian trade, running through the large windows, which, by its very line, was enough to bring them to life. The glazings, made of "Thermolux" glass, had their main framework clearly marked, which broke the monotony of this immense grid. The entrances, in the form of forebodies or rotundas, framed by high pilasters, were enhanced by bas-reliefs, the work of sculptors Van Neste and Wybaux. It seemed to us that a decorative fresco for the rotunda would have been more appropriate than the three figures somewhat lost on this large surface.


Water is not only an object of study and research for the man of science, nor an element that must be mastered, purified, channelled, nor an agent producing motive power: it is something else again, because it plays an active and essentially beneficial role as a factor of social progress, providing beauty, health and safety. Class 24, entitled "Social Economy", was to demonstrate this.

It had many affinities with the other classes - in particular, that (No. 9) of urban and rural works - but considered things on a higher plane. It is understandable that it was above all large, homogeneous and complete participations that could highlight this new role of the liquid element. Class 24 was above all a class of ensembles.

Water as a source of BEAUTY: these are the many achievements of artists, architects, town planners and decorators, who take advantage of the inexhaustible resources of water in motion or at rest to create decorative compositions. The builders of the Exhibition had naturally found a wide variety of themes in this area. However, the design and realisation of these ingenious fountains, fountains and waterfalls cannot be discussed in this brochure, because they were not products presented by exhibitors. There were not many exhibitors in this field, and this is not surprising, given the very special nature of the material and the difficulty of displaying it on stands. Only the entries from two cities, Ostend and Tournai, included objects particularly relevant to the class under consideration. Both cities, the first in its individual pavilion, the second in its stand in class 9, presented urban works in which water appeared as an aesthetic element. It seems to us, however, that the subject was of sufficient interest to justify the creation of a special section open to urban planners and landscape architects where it could have been dealt with in a complete and systematic way, all the more so as urban planning issues are increasingly attracting the attention of public authorities. Some of the projects developed in this sense were not carried out for material reasons.

On the other hand, the problem of water as an element of HEALTH had been the subject, alongside a few achievements of private exhibitors in particular stands, of a very important grouping grouped in one of the large halls of the Belgian Section (n° 20) and organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Public Health, by a committee of specialists chaired by Dr. De Laet, Director General at this Ministry and professor at the University of Brussels. It was the Water and Health stand, whose programme was summarised as follows: to show the dangers and benefits of water in a great hygiene lesson.

The organisers had taken advantage of the most modern presentation methods to develop the themes. From the entrance hall, the visitor was presented with the main elements to be dealt with: water against disease, water in leisure and sports, hygiene works (water distribution, sewers, preservation against humidity) which ensure the healthiness of our towns.

In the first aisle, we were invited to follow the prodigious journey of a drop of water, from its source to the moment it is evacuated after passing through our homes. High and powerful photomontages had been made for this purpose. They drew particular attention to important points, such as the dangers of contamination of wells. They also gave us a lesson in comparative aesthetics by showing us rational water towers with a visible framework and others with a more decorative solid form. A model of the Charleroi region summarised the role of water in this region (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: military role, economic role, humanitarian role). Another, from Kessel-Loo, showed the most advantageous concepts of water distribution at the local level.

A documentary film, set up nearby, took up the lesson and brought it to life: it recreated all the demonstrations on the stand. Further on, there were exhibits highlighting the national scope of hygiene work or highlighting regional and communal town planning applications.

Another wing was dedicated to the construction and equipment of the home. It is well known that a healthy home must be protected against moisture. Foundations, walls, doors, windows, roofs, gutters: everything was represented and specially designed for this purpose. And since, after having eliminated the risks of unhealthy freshness, it is important to accommodate all the services of water in private life, three life-size stands revealed the best use of water in low-cost dwellings: cleanliness corner, bathroom, kitchen-washroom. In addition, a library contained all the documentation on water technology in architecture and urban planning.

In addition, a stand, reserved for what could be called "home hydrotherapy", taught visitors how to use water for the benefit of their health and showed them the basic equipment they should have for this purpose.

On the other hand, it will come as no surprise to learn that the "Water and Health" section had also been actively propagating water sports. An accurate 1:10 scale model of a model swimming pool and a series of scientific devices were assembled, mainly for recording and monitoring the effects of certain sports (rowing and swimming), especially on heartbeat and breathing.

Finally, the pilgrimage through the exhibition of the "social service of water" ended with an overall demonstration in favour of the virtues of drinking water, mineral or otherwise, the practice of bathing and showering, the hygiene of linen, the cleanliness of industrial premises, etc.
We have had to forego listing all the devices and installations that animated this section. The reader will have realised its importance and will have noticed that it constituted a sort of synthesis of the whole Exhibition, at least of its elements relating more specifically to social life. We must pay a heartfelt tribute to its organisers, whose task was a difficult one. It was at the cost of considerable effort that they were able to bring together all the elements of the prodigious whole that they aimed to achieve. The success of their enterprise was a just reward for them and, let us hope, a mark of encouragement to continue the useful and effective propaganda it represented on every favourable occasion.

In a neighbouring palace the important participation of the Army was grouped. It was here that the theme of water as a SAFETY factor was developed. But there was much more.

Indeed, the participation of the Army was as complete as possible, given the fundamental theme. It was admirably carried out by a Military Commission chaired by General-Major Van Daele, commander of the Military School. It was divided into two parts: the Army in peacetime and the Army in wartime.

In the first section - the Army in peacetime - the focus was first of all on showing, either through the presentation of the equipment used or through photographic documents, the concern for comfort, hygiene and cleanliness in the military establishments. A brief summary then highlighted the efforts made by Army specialists to treat the natural water used and to purify the wastewater leaving the facilities. Finally, the assistance and protection provided by the troops to the civilian population in the event of floods or accidents was the subject of a special stand. Visitors could see how effective the pontoon boatmen were in working under the river or in taking urgent action in the event of the destruction or disabling of certain structures.

On the other hand, the Army's wartime section was assigned in the main order to demonstrations relating to the use of water as a means of defence. The military art works of the Army in the field, and related to water, were also represented. Also included were items relating to water supply and hygiene facilities in wartime.

It is interesting to note that a significant place was given to water sports in the Army and that a few paintings by officer painters relating to water were included.

Here, as in the "Water and Health" section, the effort was most commendable. The setting up of an exhibition of this kind required the help of many collaborators and the involvement of a large number of industrialists, as there were many full-scale appliances and installations on display. It was also a kind of synthesis of the Exhibition itself. Here too, many elements from other classes (especially 9 and 10) were presented not as they were, but in their direct application to the equipment and work of the Army.

The "National Defence" section was a revelation for the visitor, as it showed in a striking manner the preponderant role of the Army in the general activity of the country and in any field whatsoever.


Class 9, which groups all urban and rural hydraulic works, was of primary importance. For Belgium, it was of particular interest because of the density of its population and its urban and industrial centres. As we shall see, the field of work of this kind has expanded considerably in recent years, and many projects of outstanding scope are still being studied. The basic theme of this class, therefore, was nothing less than to show how much has been done, and how much remains to be done, to clean up and improve living conditions in our country. It is not surprising, therefore, that this class was one of the major focuses of the Belgian Section and of the entire Exhibition. The number and value of the participations that were registered there are sufficient proof of this.

In addition, the interest of the presentations was considerably increased by the close collaboration between the private exhibitors, contractors and manufacturers of materials and equipment, and the participating public services. The various class committees had, moreover, endeavoured to create a real harmony between these two groups of exhibitors, either by provoking the formation of homogeneous communities or by drawing up an overall programme in which all the entries, even individual ones, were established in accordance with the general theme to be developed. It was a class where devotion to the common work was particularly numerous and we would like to give special mention to Mr. F. Campus, professor at the University of Liège, who, in his capacity as Commissioner, was willing to devote the best of himself.

It is interesting to note that the General Classification annexed to the Exhibition Regulations provided for the presentation of a retrospective, from antiquity to the present day, of the major hydraulic engineering works and related machines. By placing before the public's eyes documents showing the importance of the activity deployed in this field over the past centuries, it was peremptorily demonstrated that, seen from this angle, the problem of water merges with that of human life.

In the contemporary section, several subdivisions were necessary, because the current urban and rural water issue has multiple aspects. Naturally, this subject is dominated by everything related to the collection, distribution and evacuation of water: this will form three important subdivisions in which all the advanced processes used in our time and the equipment appropriate to the work will be considered. As a corollary, the use of water in certain special cases will be studied, which will be the subject of three new subclasses entitled respectively: fire protection, baths and swimming pools, water in agriculture. Finally, an example of water that has become harmful and even dangerous and that must be drained and discharged will be dealt with under the heading: drainage and dewatering.

As it stands, this subdivision responds fairly accurately to the various concerns raised by the problem of water in our cities and in our countryside. It has allowed a perfect development of all the hydraulic works undertaken in the country. And it is comforting to note that if many things remain to be done, this demonstration did not place Belgium in a state of inferiority with respect to foreign countries. As for the material presented by our industrialists, it did not suffer either, on the contrary, from the comparison with most of the similar products of other national sections.

In the main order, the Belgian participation in class 9 was spread over three large successive and interconnected halls (nos. 19, 20 and 21), which it occupied almost entirely, as well as a vast open-air space near the Palais des Industries Lourdes. Finally, some exhibitors were still scattered in various palaces, especially in the last mentioned one.

1. The Historical Section of Water Collection and Distribution

It seems natural that this section, although located at the heart of Belgian participation and organised by a group of Belgian scientists, should be international. Indeed, it could not be conceived without recalling the main works carried out over the centuries in all the countries of the world and without the participation of all the museums that possess elements relating to them. It goes without saying that it had only a scientific and didactic purpose. Although it also called upon the material or financial intervention, sometimes significant, of many industrialists, no concern of a mercantile nature was admitted. In this respect, it is appropriate to praise the high sentiment of those exhibitors who contributed powerfully to the realisation of this section, renouncing any commercial advantage.

Located in hall 19, this section occupied an area of over 500 square metres. By means of a clever arrangement of objects and display cases, it took the visitor from the earliest period through all the intervening centuries to the modern elements of hydraulic technology represented by a few characteristic pieces.

The aim was not to present a complete set. The organisers had no other ambition than to highlight, through selected examples, what the genius, the labour and the collaboration of the scientist, the administrator, the engineer and the worker have achieved in the field of water conveyance and hydraulic machines.

Even if it was limited to this very reasonable object, it still presented great difficulties of realization. In addition to material concerns, it was only after many months of research and study that the organising committee, chaired by Mr. A. du Chesne, professor at the University of Liège, succeeded in drawing up the programme and ensuring the means of execution. We have already said that numerous loans from foreign museums were indispensable.

On the other hand, reconstructions, as far as possible animated, were of great necessity to better document the visitor. The many steps and the meticulous preparations cost the organisers a lot of effort. In paying tribute to all those who contributed to the exhibition, we must mention in particular the important collaboration of Mr. B. Buffet, chief engineer at the Compagnie Générale des Conduites d'Eau in Liège.

The section was divided into several compartments, not all completely separate from each other, but sufficiently isolated to mark the various periods of history to which they related.

High Antiquity was represented by a few selected texts recalling the important role of water in the life of ancient peoples.

Next came Ancient Greece. It was evoked by plans, photographs and texts relating to the aqueducts of Athens, Samos, Smyrna, Thylissos, and the drainage pipes of the palace of Minos at Knossos (1700 BC). The fountain of Priene, a Greek amphora, a stone pipe from the aqueduct of Smyrna, pipes and gutters from the aqueducts of Athens and Samos were specially reconstructed.

We know how important hydraulic works were for the Romans. Therefore, the section devoted to it was very large and abundantly documented. Here, to show the Roman methods of levelling, there was a reconstruction of the dioptre of Heron of Alexandria and the chorobate of Vitruvius. There are plaster reproductions of the fountain of Side (Asia Minor), the cistern of Cartagena, the water tower of Nîmes. Further on, other plaster reproductions of the aqueducts of Cherchel (Tunisia), Aspendos and Ephesus (Asia Minor), the layout of the aqueducts of the city of Rome, the aqueduct of the Pont du Gard, in Nîmes, the different types of Roman masonry: all commented on in profusion by selected texts.

The concern to represent the Roman period as brilliantly as possible led to the reconstruction of several water distribution installations. In groups, one could see elements recalling the hydraulic works of Rome, Lyon, Apamea, Strasbourg, Vaison-la-Romaine, Arles, Nîmes and Bath. These were aqueducts, siphons, reservoirs, pipes and, finally, the famous Roman baths. Often, photographs of the ruins of these works were also exhibited.

But that was not all. After the installations, the materials and machines were recalled. Here is a very thorough study of the Roman lead industry. The work of a "wash house", the different types of soldering of lead pipes, ingots, a complete collection of pipes, were shown. Here are also pipes made of other materials (limestone, concrete, pottery) from the excavations in Apamea. In addition, Roman taps with a series of bronze taps. Finally, the main lifting machines and pumps. For example, animated reproductions of a large and small tympanum, an Archimedean screw and the Ctesibius pump were produced. There is also a reconstruction of the Hamah noria.

Before concluding, we must mention that the iconographic busts of Agrippa, Augustus, Claudius and Hadrian were on display.

Leaving the stand reserved for the Roman Empire, the visitor was drawn further towards a succession of small compartments whose elements brought him closer and closer to the contemporary period. From the Roman Empire to the 19th century was the title of this new section.

First of all, the boldness of the people of Liège in digging the areines was evoked, thus allowing coal to be exploited as early as the 13th century. Engravings depicted ancient Liège fountains and texts recounted the history of water purification in Paris.

Next, there was extensive documentation on the hydraulic installations in Versailles. Plans, engravings, maps and documents of all kinds were displayed before the visitor's eyes. Here, an animated reproduction of the Clagny pump. There, a plaster reconstruction of the Maintenon aqueduct project. And it was interesting to discover that cast iron pipes and bronze taps had been unearthed especially at Versailles to be included in this retrospective.

The Machine of Modave is evoked by an animated reproduction, photographs and engravings. And the Marly Machine: engravings, old plates and abundant documentation highlighted its characteristics. It was an opportunity to recall the memory of two daring citizens of Liège: Arnold de Ville and Rennequin-Sualem, who have to their credit these two fine 17th century achievements. The life and work of these two men of genius were naturally evoked in this stand.

Finally, the historical section of the water conveyance showed the evolution of the different techniques mainly from the 15th to the 19th century. By means of judiciously chosen specimens, reproductions and photographs, the history of the cast iron pipe, the wooden pipe, the lead pipe, the tap, the pump, etc. was presented. Three models represented the three ages of the blast furnace: 1823, 1872, 1900 and the water wheel was represented in its various stages of development.

The visit ended with the modern period. The manufacture of pipes in the 20th century: cast iron, steel and asbestos cement pipes. Some modern pumps: piston pumps, hydraulic ram, centrifugal pump of 1900 and 1939.

It is certain that the extraordinary effort made by the organisers of this section will have been greatly appreciated by the visitors. It was with the greatest concern for accuracy that the contribution of past centuries to the study of hydraulic works and the construction of related machines was traced. This section was one of the most remarkable of the Exhibition because of the value and abundance of the documentation gathered. It is regrettable that the necessities of the general subdivision did not allow it to be given a slightly larger site. The numerous objects which we have just briefly enumerated did not fit comfortably into the 500 square metres reserved. Without doubt, the stand occupied a place of choice within the Belgian palaces, forming the central core of the important participation of class 9. But a little more space would have allowed all these objects, which represented no less than twenty centuries of progress, to be better displayed.

This did not prevent the historical section on water collection and distribution from being a great success. It was greeted with admiration by both specialists and the general public. It deserved the highest praise because it brought together documentation of rare value on a completely new subject. It was a choice piece!

2. Contemporary urban and rural works

a) Water catchment

In the field of water catchment, as in that of other activities grouped under the heading of urban and rural hydraulic works, the Exhibition highlighted, on the one hand, the works carried out or planned by the public services concerned and, on the other hand, the means of execution and the capacity of the specialised industries.

The latter, represented by manufacturers of sounding equipment and contractors, exhibited for the most part on an outdoor site located next to the Palais des Industries Lourdes. On display were working hand and power drills, a shaft being sunk and various tools including a large drill bit. This sophisticated and practical equipment was fully in keeping with the recognised capacity of the Belgian specialists. It was under the name of "Collectivité des Sondeurs" that six Belgian industrialists had formed a group at this location. In addition, an important sounding firm exhibited at the Civil Engineering Palace and another presented filtering well equipment at the Palace of Heavy Industries. For this we refer to the notice for class 16 (see section E of this chapter), as well as for pipes, fittings, pumps and accessories. The exhibition of equipment was completed by sounding diagrams.

In Hall No. 19, a number of utilities displayed a large number of graphs, plans, drawings and three-dimensional geological sections or models in transparent materials, showing various catchment devices in running water, river alluvium, chalk and limestone, and springs. There were also galleries, drains, filtering wells and artesian wells. The stands of the Provinces of Antwerp, Brabant, Liège and Namur, the cities of Hasselt, Liège and Tournai, the Société nationale des Distributions d'eau, the Intercommunal companies of Brussels, Flanders and the Liège agglomeration were all on display. The above-mentioned national company also showed a map of the country's water resources.

Together, the two categories of exhibitors, public services and industry, gave an excellent idea of the scientific way in which drinking water, a mineral of first necessity, is sought and by which perfected and efficient means it is captured with a view to being delivered for consumption.

b) Water distribution

And here is the next stage: the distribution, a problem which was essentially dealt with in two contiguous compartments of the Palais n° 19, one grouping various Belgian provinces, the other, official, private or mixed organisations.

The Provinces of Antwerp, Brabant, Liege, Limburg and Namur exhibited plans and drawings of water distribution, reservoirs and water towers, deferrisation and demanganisation installations, accompanied by graphs and statistical diagrams. Similar objects were on display at the stands of the cities of Hasselt, Liège and Tournai, the Brussels Intercommunal and the Flanders Intercommunal companies, the Liège Agglomeration and the Veume-Ambacht, the Antwerp Water Distribution Company, the National Water Distribution Company, etc. The latter's stand contained a display of the water distribution system of the city of Liège. The latter's stand contained a beautiful model of the Eekloo water tower and a lighted model of the Namur network. As for the Liège Water Department, it made a remarkable contribution, showing three-dimensional transparent geological sections of the Hesbaye chalk catchments as well as the layout and relief of the old adductors and those under construction. The stand also contained models of the Ans reservoirs (designed to minimise the adverse effects of mine subsidence) and a model of the Cointe water tower, as well as sections and slides relating to the collection and treatment of water from the Meuse gravel at the Parc de la Boverie in Liège.

The Intercommunale liégeoise had a model made of a large group of modern reservoirs built in Lamine and also designed to resist mining subsidence. Finally, the City of Tournai exhibited a model of its deferrisation and demanganisation installations.

The equipment for the establishment of the distributions appeared in abundance and in a way to give a high idea of this special industry. Here, contingencies had made the grouping of exhibitors less easy. The most important ones had found their natural place in the Palais des Industries Lourdes where one could see cast iron and steel pipes, joints, valves and accessories for piping, metal tanks and their supporting structures, etc.
At least the large factories had, in a commendable manner, been able to agree to organise a collective ensemble in Palace No. 19, directly related to the historical section, to the construction of which they had also contributed greatly. The contrast between the authentic remains of old wooden (Ciney, Stavelot, etc.) and lead (Liège) pipes and the modern steel, eternit and cast iron pipes showed the remarkable progress made by the industry.

In the neighbouring Palace No. 20, the exhibition of the pipe industry was completed by large specimens of centrifuged concrete, reinforced concrete or steel cement pipes. The construction of these pipes was visible, as well as the special arrangement of the joints (Belgian Centrifugal Concrete).

The industry of meters and measuring and regulating devices was represented by three important firms exhibiting, at Industries Lourdes, a very wide range of devices based on various principles, using all the resources of hydraulic science. Small domestic distribution piping in steel, copper, zinc, lead, cast iron, eternit, with accessories, joints, valves, taps of all systems and appearances, filled the stands of many firms, proving the vitality of the medium and small industry and a real degree of refinement due to the ingenuity of the manufacturers. Most of these stands were located in Hall 20. Exhibitors whose main activity fell under other classes were also registered in class 9: technical construction offices (reservoirs and water towers), steel construction workshops (steel tanks), public works companies (see classes 4, 5 and 16). Then there were the producers of all materials and products for the various uses of tap water: sanitary and domestic installations in various materials, hot water heating appliances, refrigerators, hand and motor pumps, water softeners and all similar accessories.

All this gave an impression of great vitality. The visitor learned, for his own benefit, the many daily uses of water, which was available to him in abundance, cheaply and in the best hygienic conditions.

c) Fire protection

The fight against fire, of which water remains the most powerful agent, was the theme of an imposing complex built at the Palais ^21 under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior. Firemen's ladders, some of which were remarkable, extinguishing pumps, hoses, firefighting clothes, masks, fire hoses, vehicles, proved both the perfection of the equipment of our fire brigades and the considerable resources of the Belgian industry specialised in the manufacture of this material. A collection of photographs of major fires was particularly eye-catching and showed the importance of an efficient fire-fighting organisation. In other pavilions, fire hoses and various types of extinguishers were also on display.

d) Sewers and collectors

The evacuation of the large quantities of waste water from the main settlements and of the even larger volumes of rain water falling on the roads.
of rainwater falling on their impermeable surfaces (by constructions, road surfaces, etc.) poses difficult problems for the authorities.

A large part of the provinces' participation was devoted to this. Let us mention the Province of Liège (standard sewers), the Province of Namur (Ciney sewers), the Province of Limburg (Tongeren and Maaseik sewers), the Province of Brabant (Woluwe collector, diversion and vaulting of the Senne, Maelbeek and Molenbeek collectors, etc.). Finally, the Province of Antwerp presented an impressive cross-section and perspective of a main sewer of the planned sewer network of Greater Antwerp. The project attracted attention because of its scope: by analogy with the inter-municipal distribution networks, it is based on the ingenious idea of grouping together the drainage installations of a group of municipalities covering a large area. This is a new approach which may, in certain cases, be of technical, administrative and economic interest. A similar grouping, which will be discussed later, already exists in the Liège region for other purposes. A diagram of rainfall intensity in the region as a function of duration is also available on the same stand.

The stand of the City of Tournai also contained numerous drawings relating to its sewer network and, at the instigation of the Liège Roads Department, the Class Section Committee had grouped together a certain number of exhibitors at Palais No. 20, to produce a full-scale section of the layout of the sewers in a street, with a complete reproduction in section of the roadway connections and the particular connections. In the surrounding area, various producers of stoneware and cast iron equipment (pipes, bends, road openings, cleats, steps, fittings, manholes, pumps, road and pavement linings, concrete pipes, septic tanks, etc.) were present.

The sewers and collectors section therefore produced a very complete and rather synthetic set of works.

e) Baths and swimming pools

This section presented less unity. The City of Tournai presented a project for a covered swimming pool, revealing the modern pre
The City of Tournai exhibited a project for a covered swimming pool, revealing the modern preoccupations of the old Roman city, while the City of Antwerp's Palais de la Ville was adorned with photographs of the popular beach of the Noordkasteel.
A number of special materials and equipment suitable for baths and swimming pools were on display in the stands in the distribution section or in other classes, such as 10 and 16, and scattered throughout various palaces. These included ceramics, panels of various materials, glazed cast iron, special and stainless metals, baths, showers, foot baths, dryers, purifiers and filters, transparent portholes, underwater lighting, fans, radiators, cabins, ultraviolet lamps, etc.

The "Water and Health" group, which will be discussed at greater length in Chapter VII of this part of the general report, included many items that were particularly relevant to the baths and swimming pools section. These included a large model of a modern swimming pool, economical domestic bathing facilities and reproductions of various beaches. This was the only effort to synthesise the subject matter.

f) Dewatering and Demersalization

This section included a remarkable collective stand built in Palais No. 20, under the aegis of the Association intercommunale pour le Démergement des Communes de la Région de Liège.

In a suggestive manner, a panel of photographs recalled the disasters caused in this region by the periodic floods, particularly those of 1925-1926.

The region is seriously exposed because of the considerable and continuous lowering of its soil due to mining, while the level of the major floods of the Meuse is kept constant by the invariability of the downstream levels. The height of the floods thus rises continuously above the ground. The major improvement works on the Meuse in the Liège crossing, provided for in the 1927 programme of the Fonds National des Grands Travaux and whose execution is already well advanced, considerably improve this state of affairs without, however, completely remedying it. Major embankments had to be built to protect the region from flooding, despite the improved flood flow conditions. These embankments have as an indispensable corollary major drainage and sewage works on the protected plain, with the obligation to discharge the effluent into the flooded watercourse by means of dewatering and dewatering stations. These works are considerable, due to the extent to be drained and the great differences in level to be redeemed. In some particularly depressed places, located below the normal level of the Liège reach of the canalized Meuse, the backflow is permanent. The work is well advanced and is being carried out according to a system that makes it possible to counter the effects of continuous subsidence, to reduce the quantities of water to be discharged and to achieve the greatest possible savings in installation and operation. They required the creation of a powerful intermunicipal association, capable of dealing with such an undertaking, with the indispensable and justified support of the public authorities.

If the intercommunal had deemed it appropriate to recall, by means of eloquent documents, the disasters whose elimination is its raison d'être, it had been able to give a complete idea of its intense and fruitful activity, by means of graphics, plans, perspectives and models of the highest interest and by the representation, in real size, of its automatic anti-backflow valve system for cellar connection. At the stand, the exhibiting companies showed special pumps for the proposed purpose (clear and muddy water), cellar backflow prevention devices, fittings, joints, pipes, special parts, electrical equipment, a section of a fully equipped inspection shaft. The Intercommunale itself exhibited, with all the details, the making of its vibrated reinforced concrete pipes, with an internal diameter varying from 0.40 to 2.55 m, with the demonstration of the watertightness of the deformable sleeve joint system. A very large and yet concentrated stand, summarising the whole section in a vigorous synthesis.

The City of Liege's drainage station, located within the Exhibition grounds and accessible to visitors, was a real example of a dewatering station: it is used to discharge sewage during periods of river flooding. On the other hand, on the outside site occupied by the Probe Collective, there was an aermotor for draining small Polderian basins.

g) Water in Agriculture (drainage, irrigation, etc.)

In addition to pumps and the aermotor mentioned above, for both drainage and irrigation, this section included the Limburg stand with photos and drawings of wateringues and irrigations and, at the Palais de la Navigation Intérieure, the Office de la Navigation showed the happy effects of irrigating the Kempen with water from the navigation canals.

But the main Belgian participation in this section was the construction of a demonstration farm at the entrance to the Mosan Gay Village.

© General Report - International Water Technology Exhibition - Liège 1939