USNC Professional Policy Program 2014

Event Location: 
Delft, Netherlands
Start Date: 
12 May 2014
End Date: 
16 May 2014

The USNC Professional Policy Team approaches water infrastructure and management from the perspective of how the Dutch look at planning and implimentation of policy as they have adapted and have become resilient to their environment. The 2014 USNC Professional Policy Team will be in the Netherlands from Monday, May 12 through Friday, May 16. 

This year's program starts on Monday the 12th of May at UNESCO-IHE, the largest international graduate water education facility in the world, located in Delft. After the introduction, participants spend the afternoon at Rijkswaterstaat in The Hague. This national agency, part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, is responsible for the execution of the public works and water management, including the construction and maintenance of waterways and roads, and flood protection and prevention (the Dutch equivalent of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). At the end of the day, participants get the chance to explore The Hague with Stan Bronson.

The program on Tuesday is focused on the Province of Zeeland, a province of which large parts are below sea level. We will be joined by Tjeerd Blauw and Leo van den Brand, who work for the Province. In the morning we will visit the Watersnood museum (the Flood Museum) where we will learn about the 1953 North Sea Flood and talk to Ria Geluk, the founder of the museum, who was six when the storm engulfed Capelle, the hamlet where she lived. We will also visit Neeltje Jans (Delta Works; one of ASCE's 7 world wonders) where we will have a guided tour through the inside of the Stormsurge Barrier Oosterschelde and be given a presentation on its construction.

On Wednesday we will visit Kinderdijk, a small village situated in a polder at the confluence of two rivers, which harbors the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands. To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills was built around 1740. After an introduction at the visitor center, a local expert will give us a tour of the site, and participants will be able to visit one of the windmills. We will be joined by a representative from the local Regional Water Authority, Mr Kanters (tbc). 

After lunch, we will continue the program at the Biesbosch museum where we will discuss the Room for the River program. The Biesbosch is a national park, and one of the few remaining fresh-water tidal areas in Europe. The Room for the River program aims to give the river more room to be able to manage higher water levels. After the introduction, we will be joined by Pim Nijssen, a management consultant of Twynstra Gudde with extensive experience with stakeholder management and collaboration strategies related to water management. Before we leave, we will go on a boat tour of the national park.

On Thursday we will visit FutureLand at Maasvlakte II, an information center on the extension of the Port of Rotterdam. We will then take a ferry across the water, to visit the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier (Keringhuis). A professional guide will talk about Flood Risk Management in the Netherlands, from the 1953 Flood Disaster to the Delta Works and the latest developments. After this, we'll visit the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier itself. We will then travel to the city of Rotterdam, for a presentation by Arnoud Molenaar, Program Manager of the Rotterdam Climate Proof Program on 'Rotterdam and Climate Change'. 

On Friday we will visit Deltares, an independent, institute for applied research in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure. They are known for innovative and pioneering projects on coast and sea, rivers, lakes and groundwater, soils and subsurface, policy and planning. Friday afternoon we will have the evaluation session.

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