dws-nhri-agreement-signing3-770pxNanjing Hydraulic Research Institute signed a cooperation agreement with five Dutch organisations to establish a Sino-Dutch network in the field of integrated water management and sustainable utilization of water resources.

The agreement was signed in Nanjing, China on 28 May by professor dr. Jiangyun Zhang of NHRI, director-general Jan Hendrik Dronkers of Public works and water management Rijkswaterstaat, managing director Maarten Smit of Deltares, professor dr. Arthur Mynett of Unesco-IHE and professor dr. Dirk Jan van den Berg of Delft University of Technology.

dws-nhri-anniversary-zhang-jianyun-300px Professor dr. Jiangyun Zhang, president of NHRI

Linking joint projects to research agenda
Dutch public works organisation Rijkswaterstaat is currently involved in two water projects in China. One concerns the improvement of the water quality in lake Taihu near Shanghai, and the other project concerns flood risk reduction along the Huaihe river. These two projects are conducted as part of a memorandum of understanding that was signed in 2011 on ministerial level.

"The new agreement provides the opportunity to link the existing cooperation to the agenda of all research centres involved", Gerard de Vries of Rijkswaterstaat explaines. De Vries is programme manager of the sino-dutch water cooperation.

De Vries: "We work closely together with the Huaihe river commission. This river has many similarities with our Rhine river, so we exchange experiences on both rivers. For monitoring the flood risks we use the Dike strength Analysis Module (DAM) developed by Deltares. This enables us to compare the assessments of the dikes along the rivers Huaihe and Rhine. Now we also have the possibility to involve both Dutch and Chinese researchers to interpret these strength analysis."

dws-nhri-anniversary-huaihe-low-levels-350pxDried-up river bed of the Huaihe in June 2011.

Combination of water-food-energy
On the occasion of signing the agreement, the Dutch delegation had a meeting with Chinese top experts. They discussed the potential issues for a joint research agenda that can benefit both countries.

This included the issue of integration of water management with agriculture and energy production. This water-food-energy nexus is an important element for sustainable development.

"In the discussion with our Chinese colleagues, it was suggested to include a fourth element, and that is the environment", De Vries adds. "Both in China and the Netherlands water scarcity is increasing. So it becomes more and more important to critically look at the allocation of fresh water to farmers and power stations. But we tend to forget that nature can severely suffer from drought too. During the meeting we talked with our Chinese colleagues on joining our research on extreme low river discharges."

dws-nhri-anniversary-dam-huaihe-350px   China built many river dams and renovation budgets start making tough calls.

More with less money
Cees van de Guchte of Deltares expects that the new agreement will boost the joint research agenda. "We have a long standing relation with NHRI", Van de Guchte says. "and this agreement provides a good momentum to review our potential joint research issues again. For instance, there is a lot of attention for innovative finance to enable implementation of knowledge and expertise available.

Van Gughte continues: "Governments cannot increase their public budget for infrastructure projects forever. So we may have to find new ways to combine infrastructure projects with other related functions to be able to generate additional funds from different departments and the private sector. When preparing for a project to renew a dike or a dam, it is important to look at other functions as well. Deltares is interested to develop analysis models to support such integrated processes, also in China, and jointly with the partners under this new cooperation agreement."

The cooperation agreement was signed for a period of three years.

Read also on this site
● 5th Yellow River Forum: Joint Sino-Dutch development of new system to determine levee strength, 27 September 2012
● 5th Yellow River Forum: Chinese water minister Chen Lei holds high level talks with European and Dutch delegations, 26 September 2012
● WWF6 – AGT offers Chinese delegation to jointly develop state-of-the-art dike management technology, 15 March 2012
● Dutch and Chinese authorities start sharing information on Rhine and Huaihe river basin programmes, 22 November 2011
● Countries: China

More information
Rijkswaterstaat, Public works and water management
The Hague, the Netherlands

Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute
Nanjing, China