Sufficient water

The Zuiderzeeland Regional Water Authority cannot prevent flooding (in the towns and villages, agricultural and conservation areas) with dikes alone. Water is continually seeping through and under the dikes (seepage): heavy showers can cause serious problems. The regional water authority has seven pumping stations at its disposal to pump excess water out of the polder. Conversely, the area can sometimes become too dry. The water level in the polder then falls, which can damage crops, for instance.

In other words: ensuring sufficient water means sometimes pumping water out and sometimes letting it back in. In any case, it is essential that water has adequate space to move within the Zuiderzeeland Regional Water Authority’s control area. In due course, the Netherlands has become much more aware that, due to extreme weather conditions, it is not always possible to pump out all excess water to rivers, canals and lakes in time to avoid a crisis.

The challenge is to retain the water where it falls for as long as possible so that it cannot cause flooding in the lower-lying areas. To achieve this, all spatial developments must take greater account of the water. Whether constructing new residential areas, or industrial estates, or setting up conservation areas, systems have to be designed to ensure the capture and temporary retention of water where it falls. To realise this objective, the Zuiderzeeland Regional Water Authority collaborates with, among others, municipalities and various governmental and non-governmental environmental organisations.

Actually, this presents an exciting challenge. After all, many people love water, whether in an urban or a natural setting.