Field of study: Water

The Netherlands - land of water

Dutch civil engineers are the world's experts in the area of water. This is hardly surprising, as much of the Netherlands is a delta region and is below sea level. In the Water field of study, you learn how to protect delta areas like the Netherlands from seas and rivers, for example through Delta Works.

Unique expertise

Hydraulic engineering expertise of civil engineers is vital for many areas, and very relevant in view of the changing climate and rising sea levels. Civil engineers regularly travel abroad to apply their expertise.  To protect New Orleans from flooding, for example. We are also involved in the supply of water for particular areas, such as irrigation and drinking water supplies in Africa or water drainage in Asia.

Building in and on water

As a civil engineer you also advise on the best way of dealing with land and water. There are plans to widen rivers and to give water a prominent place in various cities. Ideas have also been developed with regard to the construction of a floating city in the IJmeer. Houses on water have already been constructed in some areas. And not only that: we use rivers and canals for transport and use canals, locks, aqueducts and ports to provide better and faster transport. These are good examples of the versatility of civil engineers.

Water management

Civil engineers are also involved in water management. How can we make the best possible use of our valuable drinking water? How can we prevent flooding in the city from heavy rain? How do we ensure the right amount of water for people, nature and agriculture? These are just a few of the challenges in which water management plays a major role.

Also in developing countries

Water purification is another aspect of this field of study. As a civil engineer you provide clean drinking water and good sanitary facilities, both in the Netherlands and abroad. There is a particularly high demand for civil engineers in developing countries, where clean water is not so readily available as it is here and where proper systems to extract and purify water from the ground are a matter of life and death. Civil engineers design irrigation systems to bring the right amounts of water to the right places. All of this is done to maintain the quality of life and health throughout the world.


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