Water boards are responsible for flood protection and sufficient clean water in the Netherlands. Much knowledge is needed to be able to continue these tasks in the future. STOWA, the water boards’ centre of expertise, makes their knowledge on important issues accessible with the help of factsheets called Deltafacts. STOWA has asked Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra), the Wageningen University & Research research institute for green habitats, to develop these factsheets together with Deltares.
For over seven centuries water boards have been regulating the water regime in the Netherlands. They make sure everyone “keeps their feet dry” and that there is sufficient fresh water throughout the country. The water boards’ tasks are becoming increasingly complex and require a substantial amount of knowledge. Due to climate change, the conditions are also changes.
The Knowledge Programme Deltaproof of the Foundation Toegepast Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Waterbeheer collects knowledge on flood prevention and fresh water. They do this together with the water boards and research institutions such as Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra). The knowledge is collected in the form of factsheets: Deltafacts. In every Deltafact one topic takes central stage.
Something to fall back on
Michelle Talsma is programme manager of Deltaproof at STOWA. She is eager to explain the reasons behind Deltafacts: "Deltafacts are on topics that apply to all areas of water management. For example, on how ground soil can be used more effectively as buffer, or what can be done to ensure that vital infrastructures remain intact during floods.
"Scientific information has been attained on many issues. The question is: how can this information be brought together and the essence revealed? Deltafacts offer policymakers and experts something to fall back on. The information can be easily scanned. And those who really want to know the nitty gritty, can use the given links and discover more information."
To ensure that the Delta Facts are based on the best possible information, STOWA turned to Deltares and Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra). Talsma: "Both these knowledge institutions have extensive knowledge of water. Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) focusses more on ecological and agricultural aspects whilst Deltares focuses more on technology.
"First, we asked the water boards what the specific queries were that needed to be addressed. Then we asked Deltares and Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) to collect existing knowledge and, if necessary, to attain new knowledge. Gradually the idea was formed to offer the water boards and other interested parties as LTO and municipalities the required knowledge in the form of Deltafacts."
Collaboration with Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra)
Talsma is very satisfied about the collaboration with Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra): "There are good reasons for us to work together with Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra). Besides that they have a lot of expertise, Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) has extensive knowledge on water boards. They realise that water boards want concrete information on what they need to know about certain issue. Water boards are not helped with scientists that cave themselves in. They need people that can take scientific knowledge and apply it to practical situations."