Strengthening dikes in the Northern Meuse Valley

The Limburg Water Authority is accelerating completion of the flood protection programme in the Northern Meuse Valley (Noordelijke Maasvallei). Arcadis and Witteveen+Bos were engaged to support the water authority in reinforcing fourteen dike sections in Northern and Central Limburg.

We are performing explorations, providing support in managing the surroundings, drawing up plans/designs and preparing the work necessary to carry them out. Customer wishes of stakeholders were sought at various meetings and there was an examination of tie-in opportunities, i.e. other projects that could be undertaken together with the strengthening of the dikes. Sustainability has been placed on the agenda by applying a sector-wide approach called ‘Sustainable Civil Engineering’. An example of a tie-in opportunity is the simultaneous tackling of brook restoration projects. There are also projects concerning cultural history, water management and ecology and recreation.

Participatory design is a key design principle in this project. The project organisation has sought to consult and collaborate with as many of the 60,000 stakeholders (including local residents) as possible. First we carefully explained why dike reinforcements, and in some cases relocations, are necessary: the existing dikes are not capable of accommodating the increasing quantities of water that will flow through the Meuse river in the future, as a result of climate change. Public support is needed to subsequently collaborate in working groups for each dike section, where targeted solutions will be devised and assessed. Witteveen+Bos has develop an in-house, evidence-based method for measuring public support and adjusting participation methods if necessary.

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