More money wanted for flood protection
Outdated flood plans and insufficient funds lead to monetary discussion concerning Dutch water protection.
24 October 2006
THE HAGUE - The Dutch Parliament wants to possibly free up much more money to improve dikes and retaining walls in the coming years. That is necessary to better protect the Netherlands against floods. The CDA first wants an explanation from the cabinet before it asks for more money. That must be done before Thursday.
The CDA and the PvdA reacted thus to the findings of the Advisory Committee Water (ACW), which is lead by Prince Willem-Alexander. He warned that the Dutch water policy is running behind the facts, as a result of which our country has been insufficiently prepared for floods. According to the crown prince the cabinet must get rid of the many backlogs more quickly.
The two largest parties are glad that the commission lays the facts on the table. CDA-Chamber member Eddy van Hijum wants a response from the cabinet on this before the budget is discussed on Thursday.
Minister Karla Peijs of Traffic and Water said she would study the report of the ACW but thinks that the Netherlands is now safe. Up to 2011 some 420 million Euro have already been appropriated for the adaptation of dikes and dunes. Even earlier it was clear that up to 2020 approximately 1.6 billion Euro is necessary. That is up to the following cabinets, but the advisory committee finds that this must be acted upon more rapidly.
CDA-member Van Hijum wants know what the 420 million Euros have been based upon. ‘There must be an action plan reached with the steps towards improvement.’
If the CDA is not persuaded that 420 million is enough, it will demand more money. But he also finds that the administrative organisation must be in order in case a water calamity would take place.
The PvdA find that the reserved money has been assessed too low for years, said Labour (PvdA) MP Jan Boelhouwer. ‘It now concerns 100 million per year, but I think rather that 250 up to 500 million Euro per year extra is necessary’.
He finds it good that the commission also observes that the security standard descending from 1957 must be adapted. ‘For South -Holland there is currently a standard of once in 10.000 years for a flood. But there are now twice as many people in the area, of which the economic value has increased six fold,’ commented Boelhouwer.
The commission of Willem-Alexander was shown to be astonished that for one third of the important dikes it is not exactly known how strong they are. The same applies to almost half of the 942 coastal works which are there to keep back the water.
The commission predicts that the increase of the sea level and the increasing flow and wave attack worsens the erosion to the coast. The risk becomes even greater when the banks become steeper due to the extension of building construction in the direction of the sea. Concerning the combination of coast safety and building it has been not yet been well thought through. For this reason the commission pleads for an integrated coast vision.
The approach must not only be aimed at prevention. The Netherlands must better prepare organisationally for the large area which could be overflowed and on the large impact which such a flood can have. Currently the responsibility has been split up over a number of governing board levels.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news