The Netherlands is a beautiful country, but it needs a roof, we used to joke. The joke has worn a little thin since the droughts of recent years. Even though not all the climate models indicate increasing drought in the Netherlands, it is clear that changes need to be made to our water management in order to combat drought-induced subsidence and flooding in the future.
Meanwhile, scarcity of water threatens no less than a quarter of the world population, a threat that will only increase under the influence of climate change. The harsh reality is that Wall Street has recently started trading in water in addition to oil and other raw materials, making water ‘the new gold’.
Drought. The spectre of this century, and also the theme of this edition, because the knowledge and ingenuity of TU Delft engineers can certainly mitigate. For example, as Professor Rudy Negenborn explains, ships’ hulls can be fitted with inflatable floats to adjust their draught to the water level.
Satellite readings can in turn help predict the best moments for sowing crops in Africa. Alumnus Mandy Korff working at Deltares is also using satellite images, to study damage to
foundations. And did you know that this year sees the launch of the fifth TU Delft satellite into space?
Oliver de Gruijter graduated cum laude in 2014 with a self-cleaning water filter that fits on a jerrycan. His Jerry has now passed the prototype stage: this summer, over 100 examples will be tested in refugee camps in Iraq and Gaza. And if there is one alumnus who has influenced Dutch water management, it is Alumnus of the Year Karin Sluis. Besides her work at Witteveen+Bos, she was a member of the ‘Top Team’ of the Water & Maritime Top Sector. All these people are interviewed in this edition.
Meanwhile, for our TU Delft top athletes, the road to the Olympic Games is also often a watery one. We wish every success to all our athletes, whether in indoor, outdoor or water sports. It promises to be a great summer for sport. But whether we end up facing a hosepipe ban, or getting wet feet on the campsite, I wish you all a splendid summer!
Prof. Tim van der Hagen,
President Executive Board TU Delft