In the Netherlands, large-scale research is accelerating the pace of understanding the interplay of water, waves and wind on the country’s sandy coastline. There is a strong sense of urgency to acquire knowledge about the morphology, hydrology and ecology of the entire coastal foundation, to enable properly informed decision making about defending the coast from sea level rises due to climate change. At the same time, there’s a need to learn quickly what works, what doesn’t work, and what other factors need to be considered.
Man-made barriers to combat coastal erosion have had only limited success, and they are difficult to adapt to the rising sea levels caused by climate change. On the Danish North Sea coast, by working with nature, the last natural barrier – the littoral dune – can now be protected and even strengthened in a measured way.
The obvious solution to a sea defence problem is usually the easiest one to accept, because it’s indeed so obvious. The regional water authority and the provincial government proposed a daring, innovative solution that costs less, is nature-friendly, and potentially brings many additional benefits to the area. Completed in early 2020, the Twin Dyke is a test bed for a Nature Based approach to coastal flood protection.
February’s storm Ciara threatened to flood the Rhine delta city of Dordrecht, the Netherlands, with a combination of spring tide and a northwest storm surge. Fortunately, the Noordwaard Polder – a Nature Based Solution for flood defence – was in place to create ‘room for the river’ during high water.