Overdiepse Scheme Completed

The Netherlands has officially commissioned eight new dwelling mounds, offering a 6m elevated yard for relocated dairy farmers in the Overdiepse polder, along the river Meuse.

The oldest form of civil engineering for flood protection has revived in the low country. The concept of elevated mounds was abandoned in the Netherlands some thousand years ago when the first levees appeared.

On 9 September the redevelopment of the Overdiepse polder was officially completed.

We are ready. Let the water come,” said one the dairy farmer Nol Hooijmaijers on the occasion of the commissioning ceremony.

On the riverside of the polder the levee has been lowered 3m and the polder is expected to flood once in 25 years.

New era in river flood management

It took a group of dairy farmers in the Overdiepse polder to break with the world famous Dutch tradition of building levees.

Following severe river floods in 1993 and 1995 the Dutch water authorities considered new measures and realized that it was no option to keep raising levees forever. Besides, a breach in a high levee can be deathlier for people living nearby, than a low one.

A new era in Dutch river flood management started in 2005 with the 2.3 billion euro Room for the river program, comprising 30 projects to remove bottle necks and widen the flow of large rivers, instead of raising the levees. One of the projects in this program was the Overdiepse polder.

Next year all but one of the Room for the river projects will also be finished.

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