Innovative flood defences

Officials and engineers from Japan to Holland are experimenting with new types of flood prevention. Dikes and rivers are being widened and provided with natural buffers and wetlands.

Liberate the river from its straitjacket

Nature is no longer the enemy now she's our ally. There's a lot going on in the world of the hydraulic engineer. In the past, when seeking to protect the coast and hinterland, engineers thought mainly in terms of dikes and dams, but now theyre experimenting with new solutions. Even if they do opt for a dike in the end, it often looks very different from what we're used to. The water engineers in Tokyo, for instance, dreamed up the 'super levee'. Step-by-step since 2006 they have been building a ten-metre-high dike along the Arakawa River, with banking that can stretch as much as 300 metres. A wide defence like this is much sturdier than the traditional, narrow dike, because the bank on the landward side has only a gradual slope. Moreover, you can build housing, roads or offices on the dike, so the space can be used in two ways. This is a major advantage in densely populated cities where land is scarce and expensive read more »

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Article information

This is an abstract of an article, published in the magazine Deltas in times of climate change.

Author of this article
Jaco Boer



Mindert de Vries

Marten Hillen
Royal Haskoning