Preparing For Floods In The Netherlands

08 May 2009

The densely populated and industrial area to the north of the city of Rotterdam is susceptible to floods caused by heavy rainfall. The local water systems are unable to store and discharge the extreme volumes of water that could result from periods of torrential rainfall – and the Water Board of Delfland anticipates that this could soon cause serious economic and social problems for the region.

The Water Board has therefore commissioned RPS to redesign the Bergboezem polder as a massive water storage area which can prevent drainage systems becoming over-loaded – and thereby minimise the risk of flash-flooding in the surrounding region.

The Bergboezem polder lies well below sea level. It is surrounded by small dikes and is kept dry by windmills and pumping stations. Unlike the surrounding polders, the Bergboezem polder is used solely for agriculture – and therefore is most suited to deliberate flooding during times of extreme rainfall.

The primary objective is to reshape the polder in such a way that a water holdback capacity of 1.2 million cubic metres is formed. The secondary objective is to turn the reshaped polder into a nature reserve. These objectives are combined in one integral development plan. RPS is currently working on the design of the new polder – including all the engineering aspects. Subsequently RPS will prepare the contract documents and represent the Water Board during the construction phase.

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