Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Netherlands to upgrade flood defenses to cope with climate change

Sophie Yeo in Responding to Climate Change: A national effort is underway in the Netherlands to upgrade the thousands of miles of dykes and dams responsible for keeping the country dry.  As the planet warms, experts say the Netherlands’ network of flood defences will no longer be able to hold up against rising sea levels, and this autumn, the government will explain how it plans to hold the sea back for another century.

In 2007, an investigation was launched into whether the the famously low-lying country could survive at all should projections of almost a metre of sea level rise by the end of the century come to pass. A committee concluded that life could go on in the Netherlands, but work must begin immediately to upgrade the country’s 3,700km of dykes, dunes and dams, which hold back the water in the country’s most vulnerable coastal areas.

On the committee’s advice, a Delta Programme was set up, which began work on a new policy framework for the country that will be put before Parliament this September, including five “Delta Decisions” that will form the basis of the country’s new water strategy.

These five decisions lay out concrete ideas on how the Netherlands can deal with some of the biggest challenges posed by their troublesome geography. The proposals will renew the government’s strategy on water safety and flood risk management, the future scarcity of freshwater supplies, and spatial planning of new buildings and infrastructure.

They also propose specific plans for the most vulnerable regions of the Netherlands, the IJsselmeer region and the Rhine-Meuse Delta....

The Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta, shot by NLR and ESA, Wikimedia Commons. The copyright holder of this work allows anyone to use it for any purpose including unrestricted redistribution, commercial use, and modification. 

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