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Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation

Based in CDR’s roots Netherlands, we know as no others the relevance of flood protection and open- waters management, as about two third of the country is vulnerable to flooding, while it is among the most densely populated countries on earth.

Natural sand dunes and human-made dikes, dams and floodgates provide defence against storm surges from the sea. River dikes prevent flooding from water flowing into the country by the major rivers Rhine and Meuse, while a complicated system of drainage ditches, canals and pumping stations keep the low lying parts dry for habitation and agriculture, the so- called polders, which are also famous parts of the Dutch history and are controlled by the water boards.

In more recent years, the focus of the water management policy  has been shifted from ‘fighting against water’ to ‘living with water’ in a safe way, thereby less on continuous reinforcements of dikes and hard sea defence structures but seeking innovative and sustainable solutions in a softer way. For coastal protection, concepts have been developed based on ‘building with nature’, for rivers ‘room for the river’ allowing more water storage to accommodate temporary peak-discharges. In the reality, often the most feasible and attractive solution is a combination of hard and soft.

CDR has gained considerable experience in designing integrated innovative solutions to meet protection requirements and increase coastal and riverine resilience, integrate different functions to support economic activities, anticipate climate change, respect nature’s dynamics and pursue nature-based and hybrid solutions. Our team applies a wide range of interlinked methods combining

  • SMART identification of combined scenarios for climate, economic and urban development during the design process to manage uncertainties,
  • hydrodynamic and morphological modelling and physical model testing for determination of boundary conditions and design conditions as well as testing of designs
  • adopting design codes and standards like BS, NEN-EN, BAW, ISO and CIRIA and iv) GIS for managing, analysing and visualising spatial data.

Building with nature concepts are being evolved and nature-based solutions have been designed in a wide range of recently conducted and ongoing projects.