Inaugural speech prof. Frans Klijn: Wanted: a river pilot

News - 07 January 2019 - webredactie

For the future of our rivers

Deltas are attractive places for humanity to settle, since they provide good agricultural soils as well as a main port to a vast hinterland. This results in steady urbanisation: the majority of the world’s megacities is already located in a delta or floodplain and urbanisation progresses, especially in developing countries. Deltas are however also the most heavily threatened areas by climate-related hazards, such as floods and droughts, and prone to man-induced trend-wise changes, such as sea level rise and subsidence. In his inaugural address Prof. Klijn will show us how we can deal with these threats. 

In delta plans we attempt to define strategies to adapt to these changes and to become less vulnerable to increasing storms, floods, droughts, et cetera. This requires dealing with fundamental uncertainties and anticipating change rather than responding to recurrent disasters. Exemplified by the large rivers in the Netherlands, it will be explained what we require from a river pilot for the future in relation to our sinking deltas. Appropriate strategies should be based on the concepts of resilience and robustness, in order to prevent weather events turning into disasters. The deep uncertainty of future developments requires adaptive planning , especially giving due consideration to the risk of becoming locked-in. Good strategies should therefore be based on minimising the risk of regret on either environmental integrity, social equity or economic efficiency all at the same time: a truly multi-objective planning challenge.

Prof. Klijn’s inaugural address starts Wednesday 30 January at 15:00 hrs in the TU Delft Auditorium building, located at: Mekelweg 5, 2628 CC Delft. It's not necessary to register for this free inaugural address. The lecture will be in Dutch.

Or watch the inaugural speech from 15:00 online with a livestream.