In Europe alone, more than 5000 towns and cities with rivers and watercourses will benefit from natural solutions for water management.
Interest in ‘building with nature’ is on the rise worldwide. In ever more densely-populated coastal, delta and river areas, demand for flood protection is on the rise as a result of developments such as sea-level rise and land subsidence. At the same time, the inhabitants of these areas want their living environment to be sustainable. So the conditions for 'building with nature' would seem to be increasingly favourable. Worldwide, people are migrating to cities in coastal, delta and river areas. It is precisely these areas that are most affected by climate change, land subsidence and sea-level rise. Constantly raising dikes is not an approach that can continue to rely on automatic support, and we need to consider alternative ways of improving flood protection. So slowly but surely, people are changing their thinking and becoming enthusiastic about using the natural landscape for flood protection.
The main development for 2016 will be firmly establishing Deltares as the top institute for nature-based solutions in European deltas, towns and cities. There will be a special focus on solutions which use natural processes to increase water safety, nature-based flood defences. Deltares will be investigating these in far greater depth. The aim is to be the frontrunner in all water-related, nature-based solutions: in technical and ecological terms, in terms of governance and financial aspects.