A Dutch TV crew recently highlighted DEME Group’s important work at the Hedwige-Prosper Polder flood prevention project, on the Belgian-Dutch border.
Together with DEME’s consortium partners, the company is restoring the polder back into a vast natural floodplain to reduce the risk of flooding in villages along the River Scheldt.
“Crucially, a lot of water can be stored on the floodplain during storm and tidal surges, therefore protecting local residents. Additionally, together with our partners, we are creating an estuarine natural intertidal area, which represents 465 ha of new nature,” DEME said.
In this project, the outer defences of the Hedwige and Prosper Polders – low lying areas of reclaimed land – will be removed, reopening these areas to the tides. This process (which can be called ‘depoldering’) involves moving dike protection inland.
This project is part of the Sigma Plan in Flanders and coordinated by Flemish Waterways. While nearly all Sigma Plan projects take place on Belgian territory, this is an exception as the Hedwige polder lies on Dutch territory.
The dykes of the polders are being thoroughly tested and flooded with thousands of cubic metres of water to see if they can withstand a superstorm. Researchers will examine the impact of these vast volumes of water on the dyke and the subsoil.