Rivers Day 2018: nose to the grindstone!

On Monday, 19 November the Deventer Stadstheater hosted the biennial Rivers Day. An important day for all those involved in the Rhine Delta Programme, to catch up on current developments, to exchange expertise, and above all, to meet one another with a focus on collaboration within the Rhine Delta Programme.

This year’s theme was Nose to the grindstone and Delta Programme Commissioner Wim Kuijken was happy to take up this invitation. He conveyed to the audience that we have entered a more complex and slightly uncertain phase, on the eve of the introduction of Integrated River Management; however, those present can rely on many years of experience. Wim Kuijken pointed out that it is imperative that the experience gained by the river workers in the Room for the River projects should be taken into account in Integrated River Management, especially from a participation perspective. ‘Do not just involve stakeholders in issues to be resolved but also let them participate in the solution!’ the Delta Programme Commissioner urged.

Delta Programme Commissioner Wim Kuijken regards an integrated approach as a means rather than an end. He referred to flood risk management as the primus inter pares of the goals to be attained. The flood protection standards set out the course and the pace; the other goals dictate the substantiation of the measures. ‘Thus, better will not become the enemy of good.’

Along with Wim Kuijken, the floor was taken by Jan Willem Kamerman, programme manager of the Rhine Delta Programme. He provided a comprehensive explanation of the Integrated River Management concept. Acting mayor Ron König welcomed those present to his city and hostess Josan Meijers (Chair of the Rhine Administrative Platform), Erik Jongmans (Director of the Rivierenland district water board), and Jos van Hees (Director, Rijkswaterstaat) entered into a discussion about the opportunities and challenges in the near and distant future. Their main conclusion was that there is great potential for combining national and regional goals in terms of flood risk management, shipping, freshwater availability, nature, the economy, and spatial quality - yet this calls for joining forces efficiently.

The day’s programme ensured a lively and successful Rivers Day 2018.