NeWater: Safe living, working and recreating in the drainage basins of large rivers


NeWater: Safe living, working and recreating in the drainage basins of large rivers

Deltas and underlying drainage basins are very susceptible to climate change. With the rise in water levels, the many people who live in these basins have to be able to live safely.

sloot met fietsers

Valuable nature areas have to be protected and farmers require favourable conditions in order to be productive. Water management in those regions has to take into account any adaptations that are required to be able to deal with the impact of climate change. A more integral and interactive approach of water management, using the spatial planning in the drainage basin is, in fact, what the research involved in the NeWater project is all about.

NeWater develops knowledge that ensures that water management becomes climate resilient. In other words: flexible water management that anticipates the impact of climate change. The research also focuses on the social, economic, spatial, policy-oriented and organisational adaptations that are required in order to be able to deal properly with climate change.

Risk approach

The research focuses on the drainage basins of the Rhine the Elbe, the Guadiana, the Tisza, the Amudarya, the Nile and the Orange. The project takes place on location with a large group of interested parties, such as municipal councils, provinces, nature conservation organisations, water boards, residents’ organisations and farmers’ organisations. The water management is integrated with spatial planning, is adapted to climate change and analysed in terms of costs and benefits. Methods of storage and buffering are designed and a public-private risk approach in the event of flooding is given. There is integration within political, institutional and implementing agencies with innovative methods of plan development and management. This results in water management becoming one of the learning organisations that can cope with the uncertainties that are expected with climate change.

New understanding

Wageningen UR focuses in particular on the relationship between climate change and water quality, water quantity, the land use, the ecosystem, the financial and economic effects. In cooperation with the interest groups in the drainage basins in question, new understanding is developed and the working methods are distributed further.

Additionally, the following is possible with the help of NeWater:

  • To evaluate extreme weather conditions and the uncertainties resulting from that.
  • To provide an understanding of the vulnerability of communities to the impact of climate extremes and the way in which organisations can deal with this.
  • Using concepts and guidelines, to outline the conditions for a change process in order to cope better with uncertainties.
  • To develop adaptive forms of water management, using opportunities and capabilities.
  • To specify an optimal method of land use for the required scope and quality of the water drainage.
  • To make materials available for training and knowledge development, and to offer an online curriculum.