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The rivers of the future initiative is taken up

Posted at 30/01/2018 by dr. Ralph Schielen

RiverCare is now well on its course and is delivering great results. Rijkswaterstaat is involved in all user committees and tries to incorporate the new knowledge in its organization. Meanwhile, the “Rivers for the future” new initiative is taken up.

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RiverCare coordinator

dr. Ralph Schielen

Rijkswaterstaat Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management

NKWK workshop to brainstorm about the long term behavior of our rivers

The NKWK questions about rivers

The Rivers for the future is a research initiative (2017-2020) within the framework of the National Knowledge and Innovation Program on Water and Climate (Dutch abbreviation NKWK). The Rijkswaterstaat Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the policy department have interest on the long term behavior of our rivers. The general idea is that our rivers, being highly trained and engineered, are far from equilibrium but strive (as dynamical system) to reach a new equilibrium. The question is: what is that? And more important: how does that effect the current sediment budget and sediment balance, which cause already severe bed erosion due to the response on adaptations in the past.

Seven research clusters for a comprehensive approach

In the research program there are 7 clusters of research defined, varying from long term response on climate change, effects on ecosystem services, response on bed forms like bars and dunes to issues related to fundamental modelling. Important NKWK components are:

  • An Important tool in the analysis is the Numerical River Lab, a open source modelling environment with 3D ,2D and 1D models that can be used by researchers and companies. Idea is to establish a community to share ideas and improve concepts, which can then be used again in the analysis of the long term effects.
  • The program aims at including research of knowledge institutes and consultancy firms. In this way, it is stimulated that the knowledge that is delivered at universities is quickly transported and preferably used in these institutes, companies and Rijkswaterstaat.
  • Data acquisition by additional monitoring and subsequent data analysis is another important element of this program. Is it recognised that in order to grasp the dynamics of the river system, we should carry our additional monitoring of especially the morphology (bed composition, transport of bed material and suspended material), analyse the results and improve our models.

In summary

The program is about Restoring Balance in Rivers. In 2018, the first three PhD-students start their research. Their focus is on innovative monitoring techniques and on long term behavior of the upper delta and the lower delta in the Netherlands. We expect also that there will be ample opportunities for additional research for students and at consultancy firms.

Last modified: 29/01/2019