Press release

Article published in the Journal of Water and Climate Change

Published on
March 23, 2015

The article 'The replacement of hydraulic structures in light of tipping points' by M.J. van der Vlist, S.S.H. Ligthart and M. Zandvoort is published online in the 'Journal of Water and Climate Change'.

In the article they address the use of the adaptation tipping point method for the planning of hydraulic structures. As case they describe the ongoing work of Rijkswaterstaat regarding the replacement of seven weirs in the Dutch part of the river Meuse.

The article is online.

Abstract: In many delta areas hydraulic structures are key elements in water management strategies for fresh water supply and flood risk management. Adaptation of delta areas to changing climatological and societal conditions will be in pace with the renovation and replacement of these hydraulic structures. Since hydraulic structures are prone to deterioration, their performance diminishes over time. Changes in society, the economy, and the physical environment can also alter the functionality of structures, or have an impact on their performance. Although faced with deterioration and exogenous changes, timing of replacement is essential because replacing too early leads to insufficient use of invested capital, while replacing too late leads to loss of societal benefits. This article explores the timing of replacement using adaptation tipping points. We indicate three drivers – deterioration, biophysical change, and socio-economic change – that determine the moment in time when replacement becomes necessary. Moreover, we conclude that for determining the moment of replacement, at the very least, the objectives, maintenance and operations of hydraulic structures need to be taken into account. This exploration is illustrated with the task of replacing seven hydraulic structures in the river Meuse.