Well-attended Water Safety symposium: a future built on history
On 20 April, Delta Programme Commissioner Wim Kuijken opened the joint symposium celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Schilthuisfonds foundation and the 25th anniversary of the History of Water Management Society. The theme was: Flood Risk Management: a future built on history. The symposium was held in Fort Vechten, home to the new Waterliniemuseum (water defence line museum). Some 130 people from the water sector and other interested parties were present at this historic spot where they heard lectures given by inspiring speakers including Professor Petra van Dam, Professor Marleen van Rijswick and Professor Remco Nehmelmann.
In his speech, the Delta Programme Commissioner spoke about the history and creation of the Delta Programme and related this to the here and now and the importance of being prepared for the future. ‘What the disasters and near disasters of last century have in common is that the weaknesses of the dykes and programmes, and ideas for solutions in every case were in the works, but due to low priority or a lack of funds for implementation, a disaster first had to occur. Hard and painful lessons. During my visit to the Zuiderzee Museum earlier this week, I actually saw these plans gathering dust on the shelf! That left an impression! In the Delta Programme, we are working on disaster prevention. We are organised to solve problems, and we subsequently do so with the involvement of all stakeholders, with residents playing a major role. We can see this in Marken, for example, where together the authorities and residents are searching for a better solution to the area’s water safety problem.’
Wim Kuijken also emphasised the importance of being able to respond flexibly to changing circumstances. ‘To add substance to the content of the process, within the Delta Programme we have adopted the measuring-knowing-acting system. In this regard, we make use of all the monitoring performed by various parties, collect the data, and analyse and evaluate it. With this adaptive approach, in due course local measures can also be linked to the implementation of water safety measures, for example. In this way we are creating added value,’ according to the Delta Programme Commissioner.