Delta Programme Commissioner visits KWA Stichtse Rijnlanden

On Tuesday, 16 May Delta Programme Commissioner Wim Kuijken paid a working visit to the Stichtse Rijnlanden district water board. The visit was focused on the expansion of the climate-proof water supply system in the central part of the country: Klimaatbestendige Water Aanvoer Midden Nederland, formerly named Kleinschalige Water Aanvoer (or Small-scale Water Supply). The new name was revealed by Chair of the district water control board Bernard de Jong. The KWA system is intended to provide the western part of the Netherlands with additional fresh water during serious droughts. The project involves close collaboration between the Stichtse Rijnlanden and Rijnland district water boards. Its expansion is a key milestone in the realisation of the goals set out in the Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply.

Image: Fotostudio Aschwin Snel

The Delta Programme Commissioner was welcomed by Patrick Poelmann, Chair of the Stichtse Rijnlanden water board council, in the Lopikerwaard. His goal was to have people from the field explain what the KWA system entails, and what challenges the capacity expansion poses in the area. Bernard de Jong, Chair of the district water control board responsible, and KWA project leader Peter Hesen kicked the afternoon off by illustrating, on the one hand, the necessity of expanding the KWA system, and on the other the complexity of the solution. The fine-meshed solution that was chosen expands the capacity of the current water system by means of an interconnected set of measures that are implemented in phases, in an adaptive manner. ‘We aim to construct a resilient system that operates regardless of the circumstances,’ says KWA project leader Peter Hesen. The new name is more appropriate, because the interventions in the water system are comprehensive, complex, and by no means small-scale. Furthermore, the new name reflects that the measures are taken with an awareness of increasing drought and salinisation in the western part of our country.

The KWA system is an extraordinary project, because it involves measures to be taken in the Stichtse Rijnlanden district in order to keep water availability in the Rijnland district up to par in times of drought. This calls for close collaboration, in which all interests are carefully taken into consideration. ‘This initial stage of a project, in which you need to listen carefully to one another in order collectively to arrive at a proper and well-supported solution, is vitally important. The parties involved here are taking this up with a lot of energy, for which I am most grateful to them,’ Wim Kuijken commented.

Image: Fotostudio Aschwin Snel

Following the plenary programme, the party took to the countryside to visit two locations where further details were provided on the types of measures required, and how all such minor measures contribute to the big picture of the KWA system. In addition to the Delta Programme Commissioner and the Chair of the water board council, those present included the Mayor of Lopik, farmers from the immediate vicinity and from Rijnland, the closely involved consultative group, and the KWA project team.