Research & Projects

River and coastal systems are dynamic systems that exhibit uncertainty in space and time. Model predictions of the future (but also present) behavior of rivers and coasts are therefore also inherent uncertain. This uncertainty can only partially be reduced using a more detailed and advanced approach. Part of the uncertainty will always be there, and this emphasizes the importance of dealing with uncertainty in a responsible manner. Acknowledging the importance of understanding and quantifying risks and uncertainty is therefore important. It enhances the quality of decision making in engineering and management.

Important part of her research projects and consultancy work:

1.     Quantification of uncertainty in the physical behavior of riverine and coastal systems

2.     Advising managers of these systems on how to handle these uncertainties and incorporate appropriate risk levels in decision making, given their responsibility according to, for instance, flood protection, navigation for shipping, operation & maintenance activities, and decisions related to these aspects.

PhD thesis

In 2005 Saskia defended her PhD thesis at TU Delft. In this research she developed a stochastic modelling approach for river systems to get a better grip of uncertainty involved in model predictions. A key element was to investigate the potential of this approach in river management practice. The research focused on structural and non-structural flood protection measures to cope with flood hazards in the Rhine system. In an impact assessment she investigated the effect of different flood protection strategies on flood risks, risks for navigation and maintenance dredging and other risks.

MSc thesis

Saskia finished her MSc degree in 2000 at Twente University. Subject of her MSc thesis was to develop a stochastic economic optimization model for coastal maintenance strategies. The purpose was to optimize the annual costs of maintenance (sand nourishment) and damage in the coastal zone, given the ‘uncertain’ hydraulic and morphological processes in the natural sub-system. The stochastic model has been applied to the Dutch coast to investigate economic and ecological consequences of various policy options.

Projects at HKV consultants and Delft Hydraulics/Deltares

  • Determining optimal flood protection level for the Dutch coast, based on cost-efficiency considerations and considerations regarding solidarity (basic safety) (2013-2014)
  • Enhancing risk management partnerships for catastrophic natural disasters in Europe; major aim is improving the resilience of society to catastrophic natural hazards (2013-2014)
  • Development of an instrument to assess the remaining functional end-of lifetime of hydraulic structures (sluices, weirs, pumps, bridges, ship locks, etc.) in the main water system in the Netherland (2012-2014)
  • Risk based approach for fresh water policy (fresh water distribution, salt-water intrusion) (2012-2014)
  • Development of a risk based approach for maintenance activities in Rhine river (2012)
  • Guidelines and procedures for the assessment of solutions defined in flood safety and fresh water policy to cope with climate change and societal changes (2012)
  • Large number of re-landscaping projects of the riverine areas focusing on flood protection, navigation, nature, land use and recreation (e.g. Room for the river program, Water Framework Directive) (2008 – 2012)
  • Determining standards for water safety of the typhoon-threatened Vietnam Coast (2010)

Development of an advanced 2-D morpho­dynamic model of the Rhine system in the Netherlands (to evaluate (a) the impact of river intervention measures in e.g. the Room for the River program, and (b) the impact of intervention measures to improve the navigability of the Rhine)