New Delta Approach with ’12 Building Blocks’

During the recent International Conference on “Deltas in Times of Climate Change II”, the Delta sessions that focused on the current status and future development of river deltas in Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Myanmar, USA, Colombia, Egypt and the Netherlands sparked a huge interest among visitors.

Eight cases were presented according to a framework of 12 ‘building blocks’ , a set of preconditions that, as a whole, enable sustainable delta management in a river delta.

This framework, the Delta Approach, with its 12 building blocks, supports a strategic planning process for delta development that integrates sustainability, institutional, physical and social economic aspects. It is an integrated water management planning approach.

The framework is based on the experiences by the Dutch government gained from many bilateral delta projects worldwide.

Over the past five years the Dutch government, in close support with the Netherlands Water Partnership, has developed long-term water partnerships with governments in several river delta areas, such as the Vistula (Poland), the Mekong (Vietnam), the Ganges/Brahmaputra (Bangladesh), the Ayeyarwaddy (Myanmar), the Ciliwung (Indonesia), the Incomati (Mozambique), the Nile (Egypt) and the Mississippi (USA).

It is a kind of a checklist to structure the complex process to develop sustainable delta management,” said Peter van den Horn of the Netherlands Water Partnership. “We noticed that every government has its own approach. Bangladesh and Vietnam started a planning process for an overall climate adaptation programme. Other countries or cities reacted more directly to a flood disaster and started off with, for instance, the improvement of their flood safety regulation. In this sense, it is not necessary that all building blocks are in place at the same time.”

USA architect David WaggonnerAnother thing that Van den Horn struck during the sessions was the importance of creativity. “It is not only about technical solutions. It is also about creativity, for instance from city developers. In the USA session architect David Waggonner from New Orleans told he collected pictures of modern urban water sensitive designs in other cities. He uses these pictures as an inspiration for new urban landscape designs in his own city.”

In addition to the Delta Sessions, two of them were devoted to the Dutch research programme ‘Urbanizing Deltas of the World (UDW)’.

The research programme led by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) aims to increase knowledge about river deltas worldwide and to contribute to water safety, food security, and to sustainable economic development in these areas.

Source: dutchwatersector, October 3, 2014

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