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THE HAGUE Shaquille O'Neal Magic Jersey , Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Multifunctional, technology enhanced and innovative water defence levees figure prominently in the largest ever dike reinforcement program undertaken in the Netherlands, adding new impetus to the low-lying country's millennium long fight against flooding.
"With sea levels climbing and climate change expected to boost storm frequency and intensity in the Northern Sea and increase discharges in the rivers reinforcing and making the dike system much safer has become an absolute necessity," Richard Jorissen, director of the flood protection program at the Dutch national and regional water authorities, told Xinhua in an interview.
Dutch dikes are subject to strict safety criteria requiring that almost one third (1 Penny Hardaway Magic Jersey ,100 km) of the prime dikes and 256 locks and pumps undergo reinforcement. As of 2017 the safety criteria will become even stricter to reflect the increased population and values protected by the dikes.
In response to changing social, urban and economic needs the main players involved, Rijkswaterstaat and regional water boards, sought to augment the 300 repair projects with new functions, while combining innovative and cost-effective approaches.
"Our endeavour is not just to repair infrastructure. We aim at adding new dimensions to the dikes and combine them with coastal, urban Nikola Vucevic Magic Jersey , agricultural, spatial and high technology developments," explained the Dutch engineer in charge of a proposed 7.4-billion-euro (about 8 billion U.S. dollars) package of flood-protection upgrades until 2028.
Integrating various functions, whether recreational, urban or public, into dike reinforcement are already in the pipeline.
One such example Mohamed Bamba Magic Jersey , with plans expected to finalise later this year, involves flood protection combined with creating new agricultural land in the north of the Netherlands off the city of Groningen, an area vulnerable to flooding not only because of adverse weather conditions, but also due to earthquakes caused by gas extraction.
"To reinforce the existing coastal dike we are planning to build a new secondary levee and use the land for suitable to salt water cultivations," explained the program director.
A 5-km long and 1.5-km wide chunk of land stretching between the two dikes will be divided in two areas, allowing sea water to bring in silt and raise the soil level on the one Melvin Frazier Magic Jersey , while the other half will be used for cultivations of suitable crops, such as cockles and samphires.
"New dike development could also be combined with housing or recreational functions," said the expert in hydraulic engineering, "ensuring that dikes continue to be part of the Dutch life as has been the case for centuries."
The Netherlands is divided and ringed by the world's most extensive dike network of over 22,500 km.
"There are dikes practically everywhere. In the cities, along the rivers and the coasts Justin Jackson Magic Jersey , concealed under cycling and walking paths, roads and dunes," said Jorissen, who has participated over the past 10 years in some of the largest infrastructure and hydraulic projects in his country.
In the coastal area near the seaside town of Katwijk in the northern outskirts of The Hague the new dike-in-a-dune construction became a "multi-dike" when combined with an adjacent parking space.
"The project involved creating a dike within a dune to secure the area against flooding and meeting the requirements for a car park, while retaining the passage between the beach and the village," said Jorissen.
The Wakkere Dijk in Munnikenland Jonathon Simmons Magic Jersey , situated in the heart of the Netherlands between river Waal and Maas, serves as a flood evacuation area for large livestock and a strand is being constructed as a recreational observation point.
Also in the tourist town of Dalfsen along river Vecht in the east of the country a dike has been integrated in a housing and shopping development.
Dikes have been for over 1,000 years an intrinsic part of flood safety in the Netherlands.
Today nine million Dutch, more than half the population, live at areas in risk of flooding as one forth of the country lies below sea level. Even after the construction of the high technology enhanced delta works and dams, following the big flood of 1953 Jonathan Isaac Magic Jersey , which left unprecedented damage and 1,836 casualties, dikes still remain significant pillars of the country's flood protection system.
Together with creating additional room for the rivers and continuously nourishing the sandy shores and dunes Rijkswaterstaat and regional water authorities deliver the required safety measures.
The Dutch invest over 1 billion euros a year in water safety, while water management, including delta and water technology, is the second largest economic sector after agriculture Jerian Grant Magic Jersey , providing 80,000 jobs and annual turnover of 17.5 billion euros.
CLIMATE AND MOBILE DIKES
Along with more functions the Dutch water and local authorities aim at combining the dike upgrades with new technology, while preserving cultural and historic sites.
One such example is the so-called Climate Dike, a levee 100 times stronger than a normal one, which can also serve as foundation for homes in the small town of Streefkerk, 20 km east of Rotterdam in the south of the country.
The dike constructed near the town's marina along the river Lek is an example of the Dutch high-tech engineering prowess as large concrete piles are placed vertically 25 meters below the soil level to help raise its height by around 1 Jason Williams Magic Jersey ,5 meters compared to average dikes, which are between 7 and 9 metres high.
"By lying in the heart of the village the new construction has provided an opportunity for urban redesigning," said Jorissen.
Economic return might prove crucial in this high tech solution, which costs almost three times (20-25 million euros per km) more than an average dike (around 9 million euros
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