The collaboration between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and a consortium of water boards, universities and knowledge institutions was formalised in the Lumbricus knowledge programme on Tuesday 13 December. In the Nieuwpoort society (The Hague), at the administrative kick-off of the Soil and Subsoil Knowledge and Innovation Programme (KIBO), minister Schultz promised a contribution from the ministry to the sum of €2 million and symbolically presented the collaborative partners with the collaboration agreement.
The high-lying parts of the Netherlands are largely dependent on rain water, since water inlets from rivers cannot form here or only in a limited way. Agriculture and nature, but also recreation, the regional economy and urban development, among others, are unable to cope without sufficient and clean water. Climate change means that is no longer always available everywhere; and at times there is way too much water, while at other time a major shortfall may occur. Healthy soil can help resolve this problem, since when working on a climate-robust design, water and soil cannot be deemed as separate from each other. The quantity and quality of the water in streams and ditches is, to a significant degree, determined by the soil and healthy soil retains more water.
High sandy soil
The Lumbricus knowledge and research programme is an initiative by the Aa en Maas and Vechtstromen water boards in which, along with 20 partners from North Brabant, Limburg and Overijssel, they collaborate intensively on a climate-robust soil and water system. The programme focuses on the eastern and southern parts of the Netherlands. Climate change means typical issues such as drought/drought damage, peak discharges and soil compaction are occurring with greater frequency, resulting in substantial damage, economic or otherwise.
Using a joint approach, the partners in Lumbricus are working on structural solutions for this issue. In two experimental fields in Brabant-Limburg and Overijssel, innovative measures in the field of soil and water are being put into practice. New knowledge is gained and measures and tools are combined into an integrated approach that works.
Constructing with nature
Lumbricus is also investigating how natural processes can be better utilised in water management. By ‘constructing with nature’, the natural character of streams and rivers – and at the same time water quality – improves.
The special thing about Lumbricus is that knowledge institutes, universities, businesses and the government work on developing knowledge and apply this directly in practice. The total programme will run for five-years and costs €8 million. Of this amount, €6 million is being raised by the consortium partners. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment is contributing €2 million. With the collaboration agreement and the ministry’s contribution, the Lumbricus knowledge and research programme can finally truly commence.
Parties collaborating in Lumbricus are:
Alterra, De Bakelse Stroom, Deltares, Future Water, KnowH2O, KWR Watercycle Research Institute, Louis Bolk Institute, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Radboud University, STOWA, Twente University, Wageningen University & Research, Aa en Maas water board, Drents Overijsselse Delta water board, Peel en Maasvallei water board (after 1 January 2017: Limburg water board) and Vechtstromen water board.
The Vechtstromen water board is coordinating the knowledge and research programme on behalf of the collaborative partners.