Going With the Flow, by Michael Kimmelman (New York Times)
... The Netherlands has successfully held back the sea for centuries and thrived. After the North Sea flooded in 1953, devastating the southwest of this country and killing 1,835 people in a single night, Dutch officials devised an ingenious network of dams, sluices and barriers called the Deltaworks. Water management here depends on hard science and meticulous study ...
... (Now) the evidence is leading them to undertake what may seem, at first blush, a counterintuitive approach, a kind of about-face: The Dutch are starting to let the water in. They are contriving to live with nature, rather than fight (what will inevitably be, they have come to realize) a losing battle.
Why? The reality of rising seas and rivers leaves no choice. Sea barriers sufficed half a century ago; but they’re disruptive to the ecology and are built only so high, while the waters keep rising ...
... The local buzzword is “multifunctional.” The Dutch are putting retail and offices on top of new dikes, designing public squares and garages to double as catch basins for rain and floodwater, constructing floating houses and reservoirs that create recreational opportunities.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Water management: Perhaps Tom Galligan understands the word "multifunctional" in this context.
My first glimpse of the Deltaworks was in 1992, and then later, in 2008, we rode bicycles up the coastline, atop several of the giant structures. It's an amazing feat, but as Kimmelman's article suggests, nothing lasts forever.