As a densely populated country, with three major rivers flowing through our land into the North Sea, the Netherlands is a frontrunner in flood management. Because our country is a low-lying delta country, we’ve lived with water for centuries. Furhermore, in combination with our geographic location the country is very vulnerable to inundation. After the Netherlands was struck by flooding in 1953, flood defences were built, like the ‘Maeslantkering’.
After river floodings in the 90’s our water management approach shifted to building with nature. The Dutch water sector has come up with some nature-based solutions in which water governance, stakeholder participation, flood prevention and coastal protection are key.
Be it a ‘Zandmotor’ for coastal protection or the iconic Room for the River project, NWP closely follows the sector’s thinking and innovations, shares these internationally and looks for opportunities to collaborate and forge partnerships worldwide.
There are similar regions and countries in the world that struggle with a high densely populated delta area. Due to the effects of climate change and increase of population, the challenges these countries face become more pressing. An example is coping with water in cities, since extreme weather events occur more frequently.
Our water management is focused on prevention and an integrated approach. In the Netherlands, we believe that bringing together various stakeholders and looking at water challenges from different perspectives are essential to designing suitable solutions that fit local circumstances. Such a holistic approach and stakeholder inclusion are crucial to solving global water issues.
A few key elements are inherent to this holistic approach that we call ‘Integrated Water Resources Management’ (IWRM). These include:
NWP supports these IWRM principles wholeheartedly. The approach is unique to the Netherlands and we actively seek international partners who wish to put this approach into practice together with local entities, customising it to their situations.
Heavy rains and high-water levels often result in emergency floods that require immediate and adequate action. In these increasingly more frequent situations, flexible, temporary, or mobile solutions can be used to prevent floods or mitigate their impact. The ‘Solutions for Emergency Flood Protection’ portfolio combines several of these solutions. It showcases Dutch solutions for all stages: before, during, and after a flood emergency. These include temporary flood barriers, moveable bridges, high-capacity pumps and innovations on potable water production and storage.