Robust Water Systems


The system of study in this assignment comprises the region “Kanaalzone Zeeuws-Vlaanderen” (between the Western Scheldt Estuary, shores of the channel Ghent – Terneuzen, Braakman creek recreational area, and to the South crossing the Dutch/Belgian border (including Isabella and Leopold canals). The aims of the study are threefold:

  1. Setting criteria for robustness so that we can test future changes against these criteria. What is really robust and why?
  2. Definition of an ideal Robust Water System for the region using the criteria defined under 1 and the input of strategic developments (Visie Waterbeheer 2050, SAZ+, Vitale Kanaalzone, Nieuwe Sluis)
  3. To sketch an outline of the future of our Robust Water System (timeframe now to 2030 and 2050) starting from the current situation in order to determine how resilient it really is (foreward projection). This requires: an update of the project map of the region to the extent as if all described project possibilities have already been executed. This requires further detailing of the projects and expected outcome.
  4. Translating the ideal resilient future to measures needed today (backward projection).
    • Analyse what this means to currently desired interventions in the region.
    • Determine which gaps still exist in relation to our ambitions and jointly define what is still required (and by when) to complete the desired picture.

A group of six students will work on this assignment:

  • 3 students on aims 1, 2 and 3
  • 3 students on aims 1, 2 and 4



Project Startdatum Einddatum Samenvatting
Fresh water availability 1 januari 2018 This projects contributes to integrating fresh water storage and supply in spatial planning, while maintaining or even upgrading the water quality, benefitting all stakeholders. Phases of this (larger) project B, divided into sub-projects C: Initiating: Braakman Zuid possibilities; Proposed: reuse surface water with wetlands; Execution: mild desalination, enhanced reuse; Finalised: desalination of seawater (not feasible)
Impact project Spatial Adaptation Robust Water System Zeeuws Vlaanderen 1 juni 2016 30 november 2016 The aim of this project was to positively contribute to the cooperation of participating parties and capturing and sharing their knowledge and experience. The knowledge will be shared in the form of a wiki, developed by the HZ University of Applied Sciences. The wiki is a tool that will detect the interrelationships between the various initiatives within the robust water system, with the aim of strengthening collaboration of existing parties and stimulating new parties to participate. See:
Living Lab Fresh Water E4 (Proeftuin Zoet Water E4) 1 januari 2015 31 maart 2017 Fresh water availability can be increased by mild desalination brackish water sources. Demonstrating that desalination is a viable option was proven in the E4Water project ( The brackish water source, however, comes with variable flows and quality and could be buffered and treated in a constructed wetland in order to remove suspended solids and phosphorous. This project investigated the feasibility of such constructed wetland. In order to provide 10,000 m3 per day a wetland of 12 ha was proposed, which could produce at least 85% of the required fresh water. Additional benefits associated with the wetland, like tourism or changing water intake by local farmers, were negligible. The cost of such infrastructure is substantial, an estimated 4.1 MEuro. Answering the question whether this investment is acceptable with respect to the mitigated risk of water not being available was not part of this assessement.


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