SS4.12 Linking Science with Management of Freshwater Resources
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2002
Time: 2:30:00 PM
Location: Carson B
 
HosperSH, RIZA Institute for Inland Water Management, Lelystad, Netherlands, 
 
SHIFTING PARADIGMS IN WATER MANAGEMENT IN THE NETHERLANDS: A NEW CHALLENGE FOR AQUATIC ECOLOGY
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Predicted hydrological effects of climate change (up to 40% higher winter peak flows in the major transboundary rivers Rhine and Meuse and 60 cm sea level rise in this century) and land subsidence, in combination with near-catastrophic high-water events in 1993 and 1995, triggered a different approach to water management in The Netherlands. These years, a shift in paradigms is taking place: from "fighting the water" towards "accomodating to the water". Rather than ever raising the dykes, the risk of damage due to flooding will be reduced by allowing more space to the rivers, canals and lakes. New lakes and surrounding wetlands are being planned, floodplains will be restored and even estuaries that were dammed off in the past might be reconnected. Thus, a tremendous challenge is offered to water managers, ecologists and ecological engineers alike. Research and management priorities include: restructuring of floodplain lakes, implementing ecologically-based water level dynamics in shallow lakes and flood retention areas, and the rehabilitation of estuarine zones.