16 Polder2Cs: Hedwige and Prosper Polder Climate Change Living Lab

Polder2Cs: Hedwige and Prosper Polder Climate Change Living Lab

Climate change is affecting countries in the area around the southern North Sea and English Channel, and is doing so more rapidly and in more extreme ways than at first thought. The challenge facing all concerned is to prepare each of the stakeholders in a pro-active way for challenges related to climate change.

The flooding of the Hedwige and Prosper polders offers a unique 6 km2 living laboratory for the validation of flood protection and emergency measures.

Challenges

The greatest challenge facing us is that interested parties do not know precisely how strong the flood barriers are, and how well and effectively the emergency measures work in practice. Another challenge is to make the public at large and interested parties aware of the fact that there is no guarantee of sufficient protection against flooding. Participating countries have to test the reliability and durability of flood-risk management and emergency measures in practice.

Improving adaptability North Sea and English Channel

The aim of the living lab is to improve the adaptability of the southern North Sea and the English Channel (the 2 sea areas) to climate change by means of increasing flood resistance, and response to emergency situations. The project will function as a facilitator for the development of appropriate climate-response strategies and knowledge sharing. It offers practical advice for strategies, and organisational and operational plans by:

  • Improving the practical knowledge base: testing, validating and demonstrating how flood barriers work, and techniques and methods to address emergency measures.
  • Offering a platform for sharing knowledge and expertise.
  • Training water professionals.
  • Improving collaboration between relevant stakeholders.
  • Making the best use of the unique opportunity that the Hedwige and Prosper polders offer.

Rijkswaterstaat benefits from participation in the project in the following ways:

  • Insight into the behaviour of flood defences under extreme circumstances, particularly dykes and their failure characteristics. 
  • Learning about the differences between the strength of flood defences in theory and in practice.
  • Getting practical experience of repairing breaches in dykes.
  • Getting practical experience in the testing of emergency measures during crisis management and emergency drills.
  • Training in-house personnel/experts in flood-risk management.
  • Bolstering collaboration with the Flemish government and learning from crisis management in France and the United Kingdom.
  • Getting input for a national (or trans-national) manual for emergency help.

Project period

2019-2022

European Programme

Interreg 2 Seas Mers Zeeën

Partners

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