Netherlands unveils billion dollar plan against floods

19th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch government’s multi-billion dollar water plan includes strengthening dikes and the coastline.

THE HAGUE – The Dutch government on Thursday unveiled a multi-billion dollar plan to reinforce dikes and the coastline and augment fresh water supplies in the face of rising sea levels due to global warming.

Two thirds of the Netherlands is below sea-level and the country is increasingly worried about the threat of devastating floods.

The government's national water plan proposes strengthening hundreds of kilometers of dikes along the North Sea coast, adding massive sand deposits, increasing river drainage capacity expanding the freshwater Ijsselmeer (lake) north of Amsterdam.

"The Netherlands has good fresh water provision, but it won't always be guaranteed," said a government statement.

Highlighting the need to also take advantage of the water, the government said a windmill park in two areas of the North Sea should be built to generate 6,000 megawatts of energy by 2020.

Nine million people from a population of 16 million live in inland areas sheltered from the sea and rivers by dikes and dunes.

Sixty-five percent of national production capacity lies in flood-prone areas.

A government appointed commission said in September that the Netherlands would have to spend more than EUR 100 billion over the next century on dike upgrades and coastal expansion to avoid flood damage resulting from global warming.

The plan will be incorporated into a national water law to be put to parliament.

[AFP / Expatica]

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