Flood Defence System

Flood defences ensure flood risk management. What is the best way to design, improve, manage and maintain flood defences?

The Netherlands has flood defences in all kinds and sizes: sea, river and lake dykes, dams, locks, pumping stations and storm surge barriers. There are of course natural defences as well, such as dunes. The Netherlands has over 3,700 km of primary flood defences and about 10,000 km of regional flood defences. Without this protection, a large part of the country would frequently be flooded.

Waterkeringen
Photo: Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment

The primary defences offer protection against flooding by the North Sea, the Wadden Sea, the Rhine and Meuse major rivers, the Westerschelde, the Oosterschelde and the IJssel lake. These defences must meet the standards laid down in the Water Act. The defences are managed and maintained, their integrity is checked periodically, and they are improved where necessary. A large part of the operation and maintenance is done by the Dutch Water Authorities; the Ministry is responsible for the development of guidelines including the required knowledge.

Rising sea levels and an increase in extreme weather spells have consequences for the flood defences. Moreover, in terms of crisis management, a reliable picture is needed of the current flood risk management status, which can be achieved in part by means of proper inspections. Developments in spatial planning call for a multi-function use of defences. All these challenges require fundamental and practice oriented research. Experts from the entire sector collaborate to acquire knowledge, particularly with regard to long-term effects. The studies focus on various topics: risk-based approach, monitoring, hydraulic loads, geo-engineering, revetment, engineering structures, asset management and dunes.

If you would like to know more about Flood Defences, please feel free to contact Henk van Hemert / [emailantispam]henk.van.hemert@rws.nl[/emailantispam]