High-water Protection Programme
The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and the district water boards are collaborating closely on the High-water Protection Programme 2 (HWBP-2), which is designed to improve the primary dikes in 89 different locations in the Netherlands. Primary dikes are mostly dikes and dunes that protect the Netherlands against flooding from the North Sea, the major rivers and the Ijssel and Marker Lakes. The new High-water Protection Programme was established in close cooperation between the government and the district water boards. In his address at the inauguration of the first programme, Minister Schultz van Haegen praised the cooperation, the extraordinary attention to cost control and the focus on prioritisation: first tackling the areas that pose the greatest risk.
All the parties involved in HWBP-2 meet on the annual theme day to exchange knowledge. We were asked to hold a plenary session for approximately 200 professionals during the 2013 theme day. We presented an interactive session under the title: ‘Help, there’s a dike running through my garden?!’ The main aim was to engage civilian participation in the preliminary phase of large infrastructure projects that have a major impact on the environment. How do you deal with the environment and how do you communicate before, during and after radical dike reinforcement projects? We used an awareness campaign for all existing dike reinforcement projects and collaborated with the Dutch news channel, NOS Journaal, to seek national support for dike reinforcement and everything related to the environment.
All the project organisations have since become more aware of the importance of a proactive approach to the environment, of how to deal with resistances and, wherever possible, to turn resistance into opportunity.