Flooded Noordwaard: 'A unique situation'

Flooded Noordwaard: 'A unique situation'

Since 2015, the depoldered Noordwaard at Werkendam has been what is known as a high-water flood area. The Noordwaard is one of the largest measures that make up the Room for the Rivers programme.

In the area, the dykes rise to a height of 2 m above AOD (Amsterdam Ordnance Datum). If the water rises higher, it automatically flows into the polder thanks to the newly created Room for the Rivers. The layout has been designed so that roads and houses remain dry. Due to the high water levels in rivers as a result of the storm and spring tide, the Noordwaard was flooded for the first time on 10 February 2020, resulting in magnificent views.

Flooding of the Noordwaard: a special moment

On 10 February, the Noordwaard proved its value for the first time. Pieter Beeldman, water consultant at Rijkswaterstaat, explained, 'When the water rises high enough, it can flow straight over the dyke. As a result, water is drawn from the Nieuwe Merwede. A unique situation. This is the first time water has flowed through the Biesbosch to the Hollandsch Diep.'

Nick Schoone, water quality and quantity consultant, was also deeply impressed. He reports to Omroep Brabant: 'It is a historic moment. This is the first time that the water has crossed the threshold and that is how it’s intended.

Keeping a close eye

Our colleagues on the ground are above all involved in monitoring the water speed. They used measuring equipment to monitor the speed with which the river flowed into the Noordwaard. 'The data generated confirm that our computer models and calculations for Room for the Rivers were correct. This is the first time we were able to take the measurements in practice since the depoldering of the Noordwaard, some 5 years ago. Despite the high water level, there was little risk for the residents in the area', explained Schoone.

Planned flooding of the Noordwaard

'This flooding was planned,' continued Michel de Vos from Rijkswaterstaat. 'This decision helped reduce pressure on the dykes close to Werkendam. Everything went according to plan. The Noordwaardpolder was designed specifically for this purpose.' The residents of the area received a warning from the local authorities in the morning. For the time being, they have decided to stay in their homes. 'They too enjoyed the spectacular view', concluded De Vos.

Read more about how Rijkswaterstaat has been creating room for the rivers.

Aerial photographs of flooded Noordwaard