In early June, the institute for applied water research Deltares organised a dike monitoring course for the Universidad de la Sabana in Colombia. The participants were civil servants and dike managers in the private sector.

The programme consisted of a two-day course tailored to the specific properties of the dikes in Colombia, such as the materials the dikes are made from, the type of dike surface and levels of erosion. The course combined theoretical lessons and field inspections so that the theory could be put straight into practice.

Serious game Levee patroller
Goaitske de Vries, a dike technology specialist, ran the course: "Colombia recently had to cope with major flooding and problems with water. So the emphasis of the course was on identifying dike failure and the steps to be taken when something goes wrong. Our first theory lessons concentrated on this, and one of the tools we used was the serious game Levee Patroller, which can simulate a range of water situations, allowing the participants to consult about the approach needed."

Fixed format for inspections
The importance of a standardised approach to dike inspection was also emphasised. Goaitske de Vries: ‘At the moment, everybody goes about this in their own different ways. We taught the participants that it is a good idea to adopt a fixed format and a standard approach for visual inspections so that nothing gets forgotten and all the different factors are monitored in the same way. The field inspections showed that they picked up this idea quickly. They started looking at the dikes differently and the first signs of dike failure were identified faster.’

More courses
The Colombians were very enthusiastic about the course and Deltares has been asked to organise more courses. They will cover topics like dike design and the Dike strength Analysis Module (DAM), a calculation tool for detailed dike management and study.

Demonstration of Levee Patroller

Within the virtual world of Levee Patroller the levee inspector learns to recognize the different signs which indicate weakening of the levee and through that are able to prevent a full levee breach.

This news release was originally published on the website of Deltares.

More information
Goaitske de Vries
Delft, the Netherlands
+31 88 335 8273