Colombia: Deltares’ Recommendations for La Mojana River Welcomed

In early August, a Dutch water mission presented its recommendations about how to improve flood protection in the La Mojana river basin in Colombia.

The mission was led by Erik Mosselman, a Deltares river expert. The mission’s suggestions were welcomed by the Colombian government and they will be implemented during the next eighteen months, opening up numerous opportunities for Dutch companies.

In 2010 and 2011, several areas in Colombia were hit by severe flooding. La Mojana, which is in the north of the country, was one of them. President Santós of Colombia personally called on the Netherlands for assistance in the shape of structural solutions to prevent flooding. The recommendations for La Mojana were completed first. A comparable plan will be drawn up soon for the Jarillón de Aguablanca in Cali.

Erik Mosselman, the team manager for La Mojana: “The Colombian government is very impressed by Dutch water expertise. So our assignment was to look at the area from a Dutch perspective. This means an integrated approach to the river basin and a risk analysis offsetting the costs of the measures against the level of damage mitigation. That is the way to identify the most effective measures. Getting local stakeholders involved is also a typical feature of the Dutch approach.

The mission based its findings and recommendations on an analysis of earlier studies conducted by the National University of Colombia and a visit to the area last June.

Its report contains seven concrete proposals, such as repairing dike breaches in the near future, dredging and cleaning up spillways, an integrated analysis of the river system, and drawing up flood maps. The proposals will be implemented by the Colombian Adaptation Fund. As part of the Dutch-Colombian partnership, there will be consultations with Dutch experts and companies to see where collaboration is possible.

The water mission was established by a consortium made up of Deltares, the Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment, and the engineering firms HaskoningDHV and HKV. Team manager Erik Mosselman was accompanied on the mission by Meindert Van (a Deltares dike expert), Matthijs Kok (HKV), Hans Leenen (HaskoningDHV) and Renske Peters (Water Director at the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment).

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Dredging Today Staff, August 15, 2012

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