STORM_SAFE kick-off in The Netherlands

Published on: 29 February 2024, 15:01 hrs

The EU Interreg North Sea co-funded project STORM_SAFE was officially launched on the 29th to the 31st of January 2024 by all partners in The Hague, The Netherlands. STORM_SAFE seeks to improve the digital resilience of crucial water infrastructure in the North Sea region, grappling with aging systems dependent on outdated software at risk of malfunction.

The project aims to enhance digital resilience, reduce failure risks, and curb socio-economic impacts.

Strengthening resilience

Rijkswaterstaat CIO (Chief Information Officer) Ron Kolkman welcomed all the participants, emphasizing the importance of continuing to strive for a strengthening of our “Resilience” in response to the rising frequency of extreme weather events, particularly in the context of water safety and compliance under the Water Act.

This alignment with the EU ambition for a robust resilience, the urgency and relevance of the STORM_SAFE project was echoed by the EU Interreg North Sea Joint Secretariat project officer Jesper Jönssen.

Active discussions, reviews and field visits

The project partners took time to review the project objectives and engaged in active discussions as to the next steps of our journey to increasing this digital resilience of crucial water infrastructure in the North Sea region.

These 2 days were marked by the compelling keynote speakers, interactive workshops, valuable insights, and a site visit to the Offshore Expertise Centre and the Haringvliet Barrier - with the weather Gods in their favour - releasing a storm to view the crucial purpose of this vital water infrastructure.

The project’s emphasis was on building on the existing and embracing the new relationships and in so doing, continue to anchor the foundations of this dedicated, knowledge rich and productive partnership over the next 4 years.

Unique collaboration of expert’s peers

The launch event brought together a diverse group of stakeholders. The agenda illustrated the tenacious desire to foster this unique collaboration of expert’s peers in the arena of software reliability of storm surge barriers and other vital infrastructure in the water sector in the North Sea Region.

Keynote address Meike van Ginneken

In her keynote address, Meike van Ginneken - Water Envoy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Program Director for climate adaptation & water international - shared important insights of the Dutch international program under her lead.

Her speech highlighted the synergies and provided a broader context for the STORM_SAFE project, within the landscape of climate adaptation, water and safety management.

Partner pitches

The remainder of the program included engaging presentations in the form of partner pitches, allowing participants to delve into and share their valuable knowledge and expertise in the project work packages and initiate discussions on the diverse cases and pilots.

This part of the program, facilitated by Yigal Levin, affirmed the consensus of the available collaborative opportunities. Participants immersed themselves in focused group discussions categorized into four groups, each addressing specific work packages ranging from practical approaches to policy improvements.

Signing STORM_SAFE Partnership Agreement

The event concluded with the ceremonial signing of the STORM_SAFE Partnership Agreement by the steering group, giving the green light for the project's 4-year implementation.