Posted on 16 September 2011
During his visit to Washington on September 13th and 14th Dutch Delta Commissioner Wim Kuijken made several visits on Capitol Hill to tell US authorities about the Dutch delta progrmma. Wim Kuijken is responsible for the draw up, update and implement the Delta Programme on behalf of the cabinet. Including its financial consequences. The Delta Programme was set up to protect the Netherlands against flooding and ensure a sufficient supply of fresh water, now and in the future. Mr Kuijken has been appointed for a term of seven years.
Much in common
"Our US allies are very interested in our innovative approach that uses the 5 Dutch D’s: Delta Act, Delta Programme, Delta Fund, Delta Commissioner and Delta Decisions", experienced Kuijken.
"I am here to learn a lot about the approaches adopted by the US and Canada in dealing with their freshwater problems, their emergency management and their adaptive approaches; we have many subjects in common. We will be examining all three layers of safety."
Colaboration with Louisiana
Tuesday evening, 13 September, the Delta Commissioner and Dutch ambassador Renée Jones-Bos attended a reception and dinner hosted by Louisiana state senator Mary Landrieu. Other attendees included four senators, several members of the House of Representatives and delegates of the Obama administration. Those present discussed the collaboration between the Netherlands and the state of Louisiana; the Delta Commissioner explained the Dutch Delta approach.
Debate about climate adaptation
On Wednesday, 14 September the focus was on 'Capitol Hill'. In the government buildings, the Delta Commissioner presented the Delta Programme to the Resources for the Future think tank, which conducts independent research into sustainable development. At the U.S. Global Change Research Program, an advisory council commissioned by the government of President Barack Obama to conduct national research into adaptation, the Delta Commissioner debated with top scientists on adaptation, the state of know-how in the United States and the issues in the Dutch Delta Programme.
Furthermore, Mr Wim Kuijken gave presentations on the Delta approach in the Netherlands to a delegation of members of Congress from California and at a theme meeting of the Waterways Caucus (a group of delegates who have joined forces around the theme of water). The presentations of the Delta Commissioner show that there is a great deal of interest on the American side in the Dutch multi-disciplinary approach to water safety and projects such as Room for the Rivers.
Talks with Corps top officers
On Thursday morning, the Delta Commissioner visited the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an agency comparable to the Dutch Rijkswaterstaat, the executive arm of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. Mr Kuijken was welcomed by the Corps top officers, including major general William T. Grisoli. They presented the plans of the National Committee on Levee Safety and the recommendations this committee has submitted to the federal government regarding a National Levee Safety Plan.
Many similarities were found between their plans and the Dutch Delta Programme. The implementation of the recommendations by this committee still awaits passing by the American Congress. The long-term collaboration with the American counterpart of Rijkswaterstaat will be expanded further.
The Hague, the Netherlands