On November 8 2017, ENP PhD-candidate Martijn van Staveren successfully defended his thesis ‘Bringing in the floods. A comparative study on controlled flooding in the Dutch, Bangladesh and Vietnamese deltas’.
Martijn’s thesis has investigated contemporary cases of controlled flooding in the Dutch, Bangladesh, and Vietnamese (Mekong) deltas. Controlled flooding concerns the (temporary) removal or modification of flood embankments. This means that (tidal) flood dynamics are restored on previously enclosed delta lands. These hydraulic interventions are highly contested since those lands are often in use for agricultural production, and also contrast decades of full flood prevention policies.
Using theories and concepts from policy analysis, science and technology studies, and environmental systems dynamics, Martijn’s thesis argues that environmental delta dynamics have been critical to trigger ideas for and show the potential of controlled flooding. At the same time, technological factors and societal debates have been important in enabling (and constraining) the materialization of controlled flooding initiatives. Part of Martijn’s thesis is a comparative chapter between controlled flooding case study similarities and differences in the Netherlands (de-poldering the Noordwaard polder), Bangladesh (Tidal River Management as practiced in the southwest coastal zone) and the Vietnamese Mekong (restored seasonal flooding) delta.