Cooperation with neighbouring countries on water

Cooperation with neighbouring countries on water

Our waterways must have good connections with the waterway networks in Germany, Belgium and France, as well as the UK over the North Sea.

We work together with Rijkswaterstaat-like government agencies, with the aim to provide the best possible service to our stakeholders. This by sharing our knowledge and expertise and learning from each other.

Environment Agency (England)

Since 2016 the EA and Rijkswaterstaat work together on numerous areas of shared interest, under the umbrella of an MOU. The joint MOU was among others triggered by the Somerset floods in 2014 , where Dutch inspectors provided a second opinion. In fact, the cooperation between Rijkswaterstaat with the EA has a much longer history. In 1953 the “Kring van zeewerende ingenieurs” was established following the devastating impact of the 1953 Flood, both in the Netherlands as well as in England. About 15 years ago, the i-Storm network of operational managers of storm surge barriers was started, with strong support from both the EA as well as Rijkswaterstaat.

Cooperation themes include integrated water resource management, levee and dam safety and engineering with nature. Next to that it's about asset management and structural health monitoring. But topics also include an incident learning exchange, knowledge and innovation management, sustainability (Environment Agency sets net zero emissions aim) and various R&D related topics.

Incident Learning Partnership

This is a new initiative to provide Rijkswaterstaat and the Netherlands water authority colleagues with experience of EA incident response, as well as sharing and developing incident best practices. In total there have been 5 physical and 1 virtual exchange, based on an Incident Observation Protocol.

The first exchange in March 2019, a Drought Workshop in the Netherlands, where EA and Rijkswaterstaat/Waterboard colleagues learned from experiences during the 2018 drought. After that Dutch teams were invited by the Environment Agency to observe flood risk management and recovery activities in Wainfleet in June 2019, Bristol Horizon House in November 2019, Leeds in November 2019, and Lincolnshire in December 2019. During the incident at Whaley Bridge Dam, Dutch colleagues did a parallel risk assessment. They shared this with the EA colleagues, to check if the Dutch would have covered this incident in a similar way. To enable further knowledge bulding and sharing for similar incidents, we also identified subjects for future collaboration. These include reservoir management during drought, Lidar as an instrument for risk assessments and staff exchange of dike inspectors.

German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG)

An efficient transport system is crucial for a healthy economy in Germany. Waterways are important transport routes and offer in many cases a low-cost and environment-friendly alternative to road, rail and air transport or are part of transport chains. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) defines the policy in the field of transport and sets the legal framework for the utilisation and management of the German waterways.

The German Federal Institute of Hydrology (Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde – BfG), is a supreme federal agency within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). As such it is the federal government's scientific institution for research, assessments, and consulting in the fields of hydrology, uses, quality and conservation of waters and ecology. It advises the federal ministries and their subordinate bodies on fundamental and specific issues, in particular the Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) according to Section 45 (3) of the Federal Waterways Act. This in the context of planning, development, and new construction of waterways, including their operation and maintenance.

The Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) is in charge of waterway development and maintenance, pursuant to the laws and regulations. Rijkswaterstaat cooperates with BfG inder the umbrella of an MOU.

MOW Vlaanderen

The Department of Mobility and Public Works the minister in policy making with regard to mobility and road safety and with regard to investments, management and exploitation of the transport and port infrastructure in Flanders.

The Department of Mobility and Public Works, together with 2 internally independent agencies, the Agency for Roads and Traffic and the Agency for Maritime Services and Coast, forms the Flemish Ministry of Mobility and Public Works. Together with the externally privatized agencies De Lijn, De Scheepvaart and Waterwegen en Zeekanaal, this Flemish Ministry of Mobility and Public Works in turn forms the Policy Domain Mobility and Public Works.

Rijkswaterstaat participates with MOW in the Construction of the Gent-Terneuzen Sea lock and amongst others a “living lab” Hedwige and Prosper polder on Flood emergency management.

Structure Policy Domain Mobility and Public Works

  • Flemish Ministry of Mobility and Public Works
  • Department of Mobility and Public Works
  • Roads and Traffic Agency
  • Maritime Services and Coast
  • Flemish Transport Company De Lijn
  • De Scheepvaart (since 10 February 2017: 'De Vlaamse Waterweg nv')
  • Waterways and Sea Canal (from 1 January 2018: 'De Vlaamse Waterweg nv')
  • Airport development company Antwerp
  • Airport development company Ostend - Bruges

The Mobility and Public Works Department

Supports the policy of the minister in substantive policy implementation, both for mobility and road safety and for investment, management and operation of the transport and port infrastructure. These include:

  • The drawing up of advice notes, policy proposals and regulations
  • The dissemination of information
  • Policy exploration, trend watching, context analysis
  • Follow-up of European and international policy and regulations
  • Follow-up and evaluation of policy impact
  • Information and communication in the policy domain

The department also fulfills the role of policy coordinator in the policy domain for the budget, answering parliamentary questions and cabinet papers, and preparing policy papers and policy letters from the minister.

Lastly it performs administrative and technical support tasks, such as:

  • Human resources, facility management, ICT, accounting, budget and legal matters, expertise and advice on concrete and steel structures, soil tests, dynamic traffic management, hydrological research, etc.
  • The management and operation of the maritime access roads to the Flemish sea ports, assignments that are not assigned to internally or externally privatized agencies.