The provinces, municipalities, district water boards, Rijkswaterstaat, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management are jointly faced with the challenge of securing both short-term and long-term flood protection along the River Meuse. A complex and challenging task.
Spatial Perspective for the Meuse
In four design workshops, held during the period of December 2017 up to and including April 2018, regional and national stakeholders developed the Spatial Perspective for the Meuse. This Perspective analyses the qualities in place in the Meuse and its environs, and sets out the spatial ambitions which river-widening measures may help to achieve.
The Spatial Perspective for the Meuse focuses on four sub-areas: the Southern Meuse Valley, the Northern Meuse Valley, the Meandering Meuse, and the Bergsche Maas corridor. For each of these sub-areas, a perspective for 2050 has been developed, seeking synergy between the characteristics and opportunities involved in six key domains: leisure activities, the economy, nature, cultural history, villages and cities, DNA.
The Spatial Perspective for the Meuse constitutes an important foundation for the development of the Provisional Administrative Preference 2050, featuring the two alternatives to be included in the Adaptive Implementation Strategy for the Meuse (see “looking ahead to 2050” ). In addition, the Spatial Perspective is used to substantiate the Spatial Quality criterion in the Integrated Evaluation Framework.
Urgent measures in progress
In 2016, the national and regional governments set down agreements regarding a first round of urgent measures aimed at improving flood protection along the River Meuse. In these areas, the required flood protection is achieved through a combination of river widening, dyke improvement, and area development. The collaborating parties have allocated a total sum of 400 million euros to the projects, which are scheduled to be completed by 2028.
The projects scheduled in the first round are outlined below.
MIRT (Multi-Year Programme for Infrastructure, Spatial Planning, and Transport) explorations:
- More Meuse More Venlo
In this combined MIRT/Flood Protection Programme exploration, an integrated area development will constitute the basis for proposals – to be presented in 2019 – that will increase the safety and appeal of the city of Venlo, whilst enhancing the multi-modal logistics hub of Venlo / Venlo Trade Port.
- Meandering Meuse (formerly: Ravenstein-Lith)
This combined MIRT/Flood Protection Programme exploration commenced in 2017. The aim is to combine river widening and dyke improvement with the creation of more room for nature, leisure activities, and commercial shipping. The decision on the preferential alternative is envisaged for early 2020, as is the signing of the associated administrative agreement.
- More room for the Meuse – Oeffelt bottleneck
This exploration is aimed at removing the bottleneck near the bridge over the Meuse between Oeffelt and Gennep. Two measures on the Brabant side offer good prospects: two openings in the bridge land abutment and floodplain excavation. The plan elaboration is scheduled to commence in the autumn of 2019.
- Five dyke relocations under the Flood Protection Programme
One of these dyke relocations (Venlo-Velden) has been accommodated in the More Meuse More Venlo project. The other four relocations are carried out within the framework of the integrated Flood Protection Programme exploration regarding a total of ten dyke sections. A vision and a spatial quality framework were set down in 2017. In addition, potential solution strategies have been explored and procedures have been launched. Read more…
- Meuse Bank Park
The ambition is to develop a nature reserve along the Meuse in which future flood risk management measures and infrastructural structures reinforce one another. The study also covers river widening around Alem. This will expand the through-flow area and result in a substantial drop in water level. The aim is to submit the results of the study to the Consultation Committee – MIRT by the end of 2018 for a decision. Read more…
- Southern Meuse Valley
Flood protection is a major challenge for the city of Maastricht. Raising the existing dykes in urban areas by some 1.5 metres is undesirable. The study focuses on river widening in combination with urban developments in order to preserve and enhance the identity of the city. The aim is to set down agreements between the central government and the region in the autumn of 2018, covering some of the river-widening options. Read more…
- Lob van Gennep
Research has shown that solution strategies involving retention will foster water storage, flood protection, and spatial quality, both in the Lob van Gennep area and downstream. Opportunities will open up in the area for, inter alia, leisure activities and tourism. The protection deficit will decrease at the vulnerable dyke sections on the Gelderland and Brabant side. Opportunities will also open up for reinforcement of both wet and dry nature, and for a connection with the Maasheggen nature reserve. The region aims to set down agreements with the central government in the autumn of 2018. Read more…
Looking ahead to 2050
Both the central and the regional governments champion integrated river management; their long-term aim is a powerful interaction of dyke improvement, river widening, and area developments. With the development of the Adaptive Implementation Strategy for the Meuse, the Meuse partners are working on a long-term strategy for the whole of the Meuse. A key component of the Adaptive Implementation Strategy is the sets of river-widening measures aimed at tackling the falling water levels up to the year 2050. The two regional processes – Meuse Valley and Dyked River Meuse – underpin the development of such sets of measures. The programme team is facilitating collaboration between the two regional processes.
Organisation and contact
The Meuse Delta Programme Steering Group is composed of representatives from the provinces involved, district water boards, the Meuse municipalities, Rijkswaterstaat Southern Netherlands, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
The Steering Group is supported by a coordinating programme team. The Meuse Consultative Group liaises with NGOs.
Under the Meuse Delta Programme, the provinces are elaborating a cohesive set of measures, in collaboration with all the regional partners. The measures are being developed in the Meuse Valley and Dyked River Meuse regional processes.