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H3) Floodplain management and valorization

Start: 05/2015
End: 05/2019
Status: Active

Contact details

Astrid Bout

Radboud University Nijmegen

Societal stakeholders in river management. (Source: Rijkswaterstaat beeldbank)

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Project output

Public procurement for sustainable river maintenance and ecosystem services.


Over the past decades Dutch river management has become more complex. There are fierce organizational challenges and growing pressure to become more efficient, market oriented, transparent and collaborative. All these developments urge organizations which are involved in river and floodplain management to develop public-private partnerships and explore innovative ways for more cost-efficient maintenance. This can be achieved by austerity and efficiency but also by finding ways to gain revenues from the river area with technical and social innovations and utilizing ecosystem services. We explore ways in which public-private partnerships can ensure a more cost-efficient maintenance of river floodplain while still complying with the societal needs.

Key goals: Collaborative Governance

Overview of the innovative components. Visual of the residual biomass use was adapted from the Self Sustainable River System program website.

Innovative components

  • Analysis of the current practice of biomass utilization in river management regarding the organizations’ ambitions and conditions in collaboration with the RiverCare project about riverine biomass.
  • Policy review referring to the program Self Supporting River System in the Dutch Rhine delta. The program actively seeks different types of relationships and rules within the water sector to address the societal challenges that are summarized by the increasing mismatch between the (present) static approach of river maintenance in a complex and dynamic environment.
  • Evaluation of one of the main projects of Self Supporting River Systems which is about “Learning space IJsseldelta- Twentekanalen”. This case-study focuses on market orientation, risk-sharing, public-private partnerships and innovation.

For whom and where?

Governmental/public organizations looking for more cost-efficient sustainable river and floodplain maintenance via public procurement arrangements.

Data-collection methods: Focus groups Interviews Policy analysis

Temporal scale: Project duration

Application and findings

  • There are various organizational arrangements underlying the use of biomass utilization in a sustainable manner along the Waal river. Efforts to increase the sustainable use of residual biomass are hampered however, by lack of criteria regarding the best uses and by the variance in local conditions.
  • First insights on the Self Supporting River System program highlight the main goal of making and keeping the river management affordable, reliable and sustainable in a socially desirable way. The financial ambition is a 40% cut on their spending on river maintenance by 2021 (Rijkswaterstaat, 2011).
  • The Learning Space of the IJssel / Twentekanalen Performance Contract offer possibilities to cooperate on an equal level between contractors, researchers and government. Several innovations such as the flexible cribs for the construction of flexible groins and vegetation management without machines are being tested within the current management and maintenance of the area.

Status for day-to-day practice

This section will be available as soon as possible.

Overview of the locations studied.

Spatial scale: Floodplain River section

Key locations: Rhine River (NL) Waal River (NL)

Next steps

The evaluation of the Self Supporting River System program, and in particular the “Learning space”, led to lessons which could be applied in future projects that consider similar learning spaces in river and floodplain maintenance.

Last updated: 19/06/2019

Explore the contact details to get to know more about the researchers, the supervisory team and the organizations that contribute to this project.

Main researcher

Astrid Bout

Radboud University Nijmegen

Supervisory team

Prof.dr. Toine Smits

Radboud University Nijmegen

Prof. dr. Erwin van der Krabben

Radboud University Nijmegen

Contributing partners

As soon as available, explore the storyline to get to know more about the main methods or prototype tools that were developed within this project.

Explore the output details for available publications to get a glance of the innovative components and implications to practice as well as the links to supporting datasets.

Project outputs

Residual biomass from Dutch riverine areas—From waste to ecosystem service

We provide information on biomass applications and type of contractual arrangements for using residual riverine biomass as ecosystem service.

18/01/2019 by Astrid Bout et al.

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Contains: Publication open access

Publications list

Take a look to the dissemination efforts and application experiences which are available in the news items and blogs.


RiverCare meeting room


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