British media 'inundates' Holland in search for latest flood protection measures
Several British media crews visited the Netherlands in the last couple of days, looking for innovative flood protection measures.
The media coverage is a result of recent flooding of the Somerset Levels in South West England.
Large parts of this low level coastal plain flooded early January because of excessive rain fall and several extreme high tides at sea. Some 65 square kilometres of land are under water for over a month now.
Rachel Younger (left) of Sky News went to The Netherlands and interviewed Dutch dairy farmer Nol Hooijmaijers (right) who lives close to the Meuse river. On his own suggestion, his farm was knocked down to be rebuilt on a man-made mound.
The construction of mounds with rebuild dairy farms is one of the icons of the national Room for the River programme.
Appeal for Dutch engineers
The Dutch way of flood protection caught the attention of the British media when Ian Liddell-Grainger, member of parliament for the Conservative Party, called upon Dutch engineers to sort out Somerset Levels flooding, and start dredging the rivers.
MP Liddell-Grainger gave a voice to the local farmers in Somerset Levels who blamed the Environmental Agency for stopping the dredging, causing the rivers Parrett and Tone to silt up.
In responce the Environmental Agency claims that the situation is complex and that dredging is not the only solution. In fact - without additional measures - dredging would only relocate the flood problems to places elsewhere along the rivers.
Read The Telegraph, 31 January 2014: Dutch engineers could be called in to sort out Somerset Levels flooding
Dutch polder systems
The Somerset Levels have been embanked and drained for many centuries. In the 17th century Dutch drainage engineer Sir Cornelius Vermuyden contributed to the expansion of the drainage system, creating new polders that - like in The Netherlands at that time - were kept dry with windpumps.
Searching for new Dutch measures
Rachel Younger's report on Dutch flood protection measures was broadcasted by Sky News on 4 February. In addition to her interview with farmer Hooijmaaijers, Younger also spoke several Dutch flood experts, including director Hans Brouwer of the national programme Room for the River, director Rutger de Graaf of Deltasync that builds floatable houses and Deltacommissioner Wim Kuijken who is working on a long term nationwide climate adaptation programme for flood resilience.
See Sky News, 4 February 2014: How the Netherlands deals with the risk of flooding
Art of climate proving
BBC-reporter Anna Holligan was in Rotterdam to report on the fine art of water control, and how the Netherlands are looking for new ways to make the country climate proof.
A BBC-crew also visited other locations in The Netherlands, including Flood Proof Holland, a facility to test temporary flood defence systems. Their report will be broadcasted next week.
See BBC News, 5 February 2014: Europe floods: What can we learn from the Dutch?
Also read on this website
● Dutch parliament adopts unique Delta act for protection against climate change, 29 June 2011
● Room for the river: First dairy farmer moves to new farm on 6 m high mound in Overdiepse polder,11 August 2012
● Adoption Dutch-based flood protection would require radical change US safety approach, 18 November 2012
● Deltasync: Self-supporting floating cities as solution to address water-food-energy nexus, 1 February 2013
● Flood Proof Holland opens test facility for new temporary flood defence systems, 18 June 2013
● New innovative water square combines leisure and storm water storage in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. 8 December 2013
● Expertise - Enabling delta life: protection of low lying river deltas
Netherlands Water Partnership
The Hague, the Netherlands
+31 70 304 3700