Negotiated Space for the River Scheldt in Flanders. A longitudinal reconstruction of the policy debate to realize multifunctional retention capacity

Vikolainen, V.; Buuren, M.W. van; Warner, J.F.; Lulofs, K.; Bressers, H.


The realignment of the international river Scheldt into a flood control area in Kruibeke, Bazel and Rupelmonde in Flanders (Belgium) took over 35 years. It evolved from a technocratic engi- neering concept towards a sophisticated example of an integrated flood risk measure to enhance the adaptive capacity of the international river Scheldt. Connecting the functional domains of flood control, nature restoration (as compensation for the environmental impact of the expan- sion of the Port of Antwerp) and agriculture in this flood control area and finding an appropriate frame proved to be a difficult task. In this article, we focus our analysis on two important aspects of creating space for the river Scheldt near the towns of Kruibeke, Bazel and Rupelmonde. To begin with, we present how the problem definition and the proposed space for the river solution evolved over time in interaction between the main involved actors. In addition to that, we look at the frames of proponents and opponents of the creation of a space for controlled flood storage. Finally, in light of and partially explained by aforementioned governance aspects we look at the evolution of the fit of the proposed solution within stakeholder boundary judgments.