Project outcomes and beyond

Specific outcomes

  • The goal of the pilot has been reached: knowledge about vulnerability of vital infrastructure toward floods was acquired and the awareness of stakeholders was increased
  • The results and knowledge generated through this pilot will be included as policy advise in the Agenda of the National Government and communicated to other vital infrastructure owners in other regions of the country.
  • There was excellent cooperation among the stakeholders
  • The proposed specific spatial preventive measure as outcome of this pilot is to build an inner dyke to protect the highway and railway.

The final report "Pilot Vulnerability of vital infrastructure Reimerswaal" can be downloaded here.

In the video below, the lessons learnt and outcomes of this pilot are summarized:

Flood risk management strategies (FRMS)

Generally, flood risk governance (FRG) in the Netherlands is dominated by defence/flood protection through hard infrastructure. FRM belongs mainly to the public water sector (state) taking action at the central and regional level (Buijs et al. 2018). The table below shows the FRM strategies that were considered before, during and after FRAMES.

Layers of MLS Before FRAMES During FRAMES After FRAMES
1 Flood protection High and strong defence dikes along the Eastern- and Western Scheldt

Since disaster of 1953 strongly focused on flood protection (dikes and barriers) (interview with pilot manager, 2019)

No changes in hard infrastructure as result  of FRAMES (interview with pilot manager, 2019) No changes in hard infrastructure as result  of FRAMES (interview with pilot manager, 2019)
2 Spatial adaptation Not the focus of this pilot. Inventory of submergence preventive spatial measures -cost / effectiveness (FRAMES pilotbook, 2019) e.g build an inner dyke to prevent the highway and railway (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

Adoptable (GIS) tool with submergence preventive measures for flood prone regions (FRAMES pilotbook, 2019).

Improve prevention by spatial planning for adapting vital infrastructure (higher building, location) (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

Embed the results of the pilot in spatial planning policies and practices of the involved organisations (Baseline monitor, 2019).
3 Preparedness and response Not the focus of this pilot; the safety region has evacuation plans (interview with pilot manager, 2019). Increase preparedness by evacuation routes, emergency planning and risk communication among authorities and citizens (Baseline monitor, 2019). Embed the results of the pilot in emergency planning policies and practices of the involved organisations (Baseline monitor, 2019).
4 Resilient recovery Not the focus of this pilot. No flood recovery measures taken during FRAMES (interview with pilot manager, 2019) The measures to improve resilience will be communicated to business and citizens (Baseline monitor, 2019)

Based on the table above, the outcome of this pilot enables a shift in FRG arrangements going from protection/ defence dominance to a more complex FRG arrangement including prevention and preparedness strategies as follows (interview with pilot manager, 2019):

  • Improve prevention by spatial planning for adapting vital infrastructure
  • Increase preparedness by evacuation route, emergency planning and risk communication among authorities and citizens.

Lessons learnt

Knowledge needs for flood resilience

  • Traditionally, FRM in the Netherlands is focused on flood defence. Applying the MLS approach forces focus on the layers of prevention (flood-proof spatial design for critical infrastructure) and preparation (evacuation planning) which increases the complexity of the study and the decision making process of the adaptation measures. However, it also diversifies the FRM strategies in the area opening up opportunities for new policies (Nelen and Schuurmans, 2018)
  • The so-called Vitale Assets tool (HZ) was applied to analyse impacts of flood scenarios on critical infrastructure and the Circle tool (Deltares) to identify the cascade-effects. The results of vulnerability analysis were discussed and validated with all actors during a workshops (interview with pilot manager, 2019).
  • Local stakeholder such as farmers, citizens or land owners were not considered. Including these other stakeholders could be a next step for implementation and awareness (interview with pilot manager, 2019).
  • It was calculated that is more effective to invest (€40 million) in dyke reinforcement (L1) than building a higher road (L2).
  • Nevertheless, in case of a big coastal flooding damage, it was calculated to be about $1 billion, which is very high.It will not be worthy to invest in pro-action or recovery measures because Zeeland is a small area with low population and cattle. The other solution would be to do nothing, give back the land to the sea and wait for whatever happens.
  • Only extreme events (like the big flood of ’53) or climate change effects (sea level rise) can be drivers to increase awareness and invest in more diversified FRMSs (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

Structural barriers encountered through the implementation process

  • Even though the results/knowledge of the pilot are put into the Agenda at national level, it is very difficult to execute the measures proposed because of their high costs and the long term process. Alternative measures could be found if there is a good collaboration between politicians from the local, regional and national government.
  • Communication with all the stakeholders during meetings is very important. It may be difficult to communicate low probabilities of flooding (1:4000 years) to vital infrastructure and high costs of spatial adaptation measures (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

Dissemination and up-scaling of pilot results

  • Increase knowledge and awareness about the flood vulnerability of vital infrastructure in Zeeland and extend this knowledge throughout the country.
  • The politicians should provide funds for the implementation of spatial adaptation measures of vital infrastructure
  • Collaboration with the stakeholders and the partners is key to diversify FRMSs. To get stakeholders on board and build up collaboration time, patience, kindness, a clear explanation of the problem and combined meetings with other related projects are needed (interview with pilot manager, 2019).  

Transnational exchange

  • Flood protection: not the focus in this pilot
  • Spatial adaptation: Deliver input for the decision making of urgency and costs of measures for prevention/pro-action of critical infrastructure in Electricity grid (Kloosterzand), Sloegebied and Wesermarch pilots (interviews with pilot managers, 2017)
  • Preparedness & response: Share knowledge on emergency response (evacuation route and emergency planning) with Wesermarsch (Germany), Alblasserwaard and Zeeland (the Netherlands) pilots and on risk communication and capacity building (among authorities, businesses and citizens) with the other pilots in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium (winterviews with pilotmanagers, 2017)
  • Resilient recovery: Get input on flood recovery from the pilot in Roskilde (Denmark).