Zuid-Holland combines high economic value, a large accumulation of knowledge and culture and a high population density. What makes Zuid-Holland unique is the constant need to protect these valuable assets against the water, either from the North Sea or from rivers and inland waterways. Water safety is, therefore, not just one of Zuid-Holland’s priorities, but also one of our traditional strengths. It has made our province a leader in delta technology.
Numerous regions throughout Europe are looking to the Netherlands to see how we address water safety, an issue that is high on the agenda due to recent floods. By collaborating with other regions, we can also learn from strategies used elsewhere in Europe. Drawing on the knowledge and innovation capabilities of the strong Zuid-Holland water and delta cluster, we must promote adaptations to climate change while seeking to preserve and protect the environment.
A striking example is the Zandmotor (Sand Motor), a project co-financed with European funds, which aims to ascertain whether the five-yearly sand replenishments for coastal protection purposes can be realised in a sustainable and natural manner. The results of the first five years' research on the Sand Motor show that it is not only meeting expectations, but exceeding them: the Sand Motor is a successful driver of innovative coastal maintenance.
The coming years, European resources will be available for water and delta projects. The positioning of our water and delta cluster in Europe offers opportunities: our aim is to work with partners in European regions to accomplish their water objectives with Dutch knowledge and businesses. The FRAMES project and the province’s role in the EIP on Water are two examples of the way Zuid-Holland is involved in water safety.
The water safety project FRAMES (Flood Resilient Areas by Multi-layEr Safety) was launched in October 2016. The project aims to reduce the effects of floods and flooding by creating flood resilient communities and areas, and by making recommendations on how to reduce recovery time after a flood. FRAMES focuses on the development of knowledge and on pilot projects that directly involve inhabitants, authorities and other stakeholders. The European Interreg Fund of the North Sea Region Programme granted half of the eight million euro that are available for FRAMES. The province of Zuid-Holland is the lead partner in this project, in which eleven partners cooperate, including regional authorities, universities and area administrators from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the UK and Denmark.
EIP on Water
The EIP (European Innovation Partnership) on Water focuses on partnerships between parties from European water sectors to accelerate innovative solutions addressing major European and global water challenges. At the same time, the EIP on Water supports the creation of market opportunities for these innovations, both inside and outside of Europe. It is an initiative set up by the European Commission. Regional Minister Rik Janssen of the province of Zuid-Holland is a member of the Steering Group on Water, that offers strategic advice to the EIP on Water. The Steering Group identifies important topics and challenges regarding water innovation.