TU Delft hosts Flood Proof Holland

Each year countries across the world are affected by temporary flooding, resulting in human suffering and billions of dollars of damage. TU Delft is hosting and coordinating Flood Proof Holland II (FPH II), a test and demonstration site (polder) where alternatives to the traditional sandbag are tested for efficacy as methods of temporary flood defence.

With the official opening on July 32014, FPH II is a place for innovators, entrepreneurs and TU Delft students to test, improve and showcase their alternative defences to temporary flooding. Ten organisations from the Netherlands and Belgium will utilise facilities made available through FPH II. The polder is on TU Delft land and located near Deltares, adjacent to the A13 in Delft.

In addition to TU Delft hosting FPH II, its students play a very important role; with many bachelor’s students responsible for testing the alterative defences on behalf of participating organisations. Civil, hydraulic and offshore engineering students often utilise the facilities to practically apply those theories learnt in the classroom, providing a unique learning tool for TU Delft students. Civil engineering professor for flood risk Matthijs Kok believes that FPH II allows students to “see what is at stake during floods; to discover how different measures are helpful in reducing the damage [of floods].”

FPH II project manager Marjan Keijns says “The project is of such importance because it provides a playground for scientists in which to test the latest developments in temporary flood defence”. The participating organisations also see the opportunity as one of collaboration and learning rather than competing for funding. According to Anthony Fémont, director of Aggeres Flood Solutions, “the company testing Velox mobile water barrier at FPH II offers the opportunity to form collaborative public private partnerships, including with government representatives, is a unique and important aspect of Flood Proof Holland”.

The FPH II facilities also provide innovators with the opportunity to demonstrate their products to potential buyers. “The opportunity to show clients our system [temporary flood defence] is very important to our business. If we did not have this facility we could not show clients that our product works. Where else can you recreate a flood scenario.” says Bas Reedijk, head of coastal engineering at bam infra, the organisation behind the BoxBarrier flood defence system.

What sort of innovative alternatives to the sandbag can one expect to see showcased as part of FPH II? In lay terms, the products range from water retaining boxes which raise the level of dikes to rapidly deployable impenetrable fence systems which can protect hundreds of kilometres in a very short space of time. There is even a flexible worm like tube that acts as a dam and adapts to changes in the water level.

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