The Belgian DJ whose idea could help save drought affected cities

The app Bellemans aims to build would offer city crews a real-time overview of active pump installations in the capital and direct them to the nearest construction site, where they would be able to fill up the tanks of their street sweepers. If Bellemans succeeds in his plan, his solution would save tens of thousands of gallons of water per day in Brussels alone. Brussels, like many cities in industrialized nations, has had to contend with severe water shortages due to its increasingly hot and dry summer months. This means that beyond saving lots of water year-round, Bellemans’ idea also has the potential to put a sizable dent in this summertime drought problem. Gallery: How the environment impacts your health (The Active Times) But Imeshi Weerasinghe, a Brussels-based water specialist, says Bellemans’ project overlooks the source of the problem. “It’s actually about 70 percent that agriculture uses of our global freshwater resources.” For Weerasinghe, itwould make more sense if Bellemans retooled the idea to distribute the construction water to farmers. But Bellemans points out that people driving long distances to rural farms for water “would be doing worse for the environment. Although he studied educational sciences, he quickly started working in sustainable development and entrepreneurship after graduation, eventually getting involved with and now managing a citizens’ initiative that’s planted more than 3,000 trees across the city. Since 2000, Bellemans has also made up half of a DJ duo called Onda Sonora, a fixture of the Brussels music scene, with two shows on local radio stations featuring his mix of soul, funk, disco, boogie, house and bass. Gallery: The environmental impact of COVID-19 (Stars Insider) “He made a conscious choice not to spend his life doing a job that might pay the bills, but doesn’t fully mesh with his interests and values,” says Marc De Witte, board chairman of No Way Back, the umbrella nonprofit that oversees and the tree-planting initiative. Instead of making lofty statements about the potential of the app, he insists on facts and numbers, always giving short, pragmatic answers.