The Netherlands is extremely successful at an international level when it comes to flood protection. The country has a large number of specialists available in every conceivable area: from the design and construction of dikes, forecasting systems, and decision-supporting systems, through to crisis management, measurement systems and evacuation.



In June of last year, Flood Control 2015 teamed up with Waternet, TNO, Deltares, STOWA and Stichting IJkdijk to launch the project ‘Measuring the sensitivity of peat embankments to drought’. This project investigates the mechanism of drying and wetting of the dike under influence of drought and precipitation as well as the effectiveness of sensoring in determining the impact of droughts and the optimal time of mitigation. The long-term monitoring provides a unique real-life data set for further studies.

During the dry summer of 2003, a peat dike in Wilnis collapsed. A few days later, a peat dike near Terbregge followed. The final tally during the late summer of 2003 was about 50 locations throughout the country where there was serious cracking or distortion in dikes, and peat dikes in particular. The lengthy drought was a major cause of these failures and distortions.

Major interest in more knowledge
Managers of regional water defences are very interested in more knowledge about – and understanding of – the condition of peat embankments in terms of resilience during the annual cycle and in extreme drought conditions. Given the considerable total length of the regional water defences, it makes sense to think about whether visual inspections should be supplemented by monitoring techniques.

New monitoring techniques
Since 2003, there have been a lot of developments in inspection and measurement techniques. The potential contribution of these new techniques to the drought issues discussed here is being studied in a new project. In practical terms, this means that the peat embankment "de Veenderij" in the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht area has been equipped with reference monitoring equipment. There is also a trial section where six organisations are deploying a range of measurement systems and technologies. This embankment will be monitored for a least a year, and the data generated, as well as the sensitivity of the dike to drought, will then be analysed. Results are expected end of 2013.

For more information:
Goaitske de Vries

peat embankment

Mission Flood Control 2015

“A really substantial improvement in operational flood protection worldwide.”