Beautiful and safe?
It is a common sight in the densely populated country of the Netherlands, houses along, on or even partly in a dyke. The result is picturesque scenes, which are an incredible sight if you cycle any of the 17,000 km of water-retaining dykes that protect the country. But those houses become obstacles when the dykes must be raised to cope with climate change-induced rising water levels. Therefore, Mark Voorendt and colleagues collaborate with other knowledge institutes and stakeholders to develop innovative alternatives. One example is Delta21, a citizens’ initiative and integrated plan for a flood defence system in the form of a row of dunes, a pumping station and a closable barrier. The plan not only offers a solution for water safety, but also energy storage and nature restoration. This type of complex project is central to the minor Integrated Infrastructure Design that started a few years ago. Engineers of the future learn an integral approach to design and do research by design to keep the Netherlands both beautiful and safe in the coming decades.
Mark Voorendt is Researcher and Lecturer of Hydraulic Structures at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences.