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Daily Dutch News in English

Dutch approach to coastal defence among CNN top 10 of best ideas

American news channel CNN has acclaimed the Dutch approach to water, which is being introduced in the US in order to protect New York and New Jersey from high water, as one of the best ideas of 2013. Dutchman Henk Ovink, stationed in the US by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, is working on solutions to ensure that future ‘superstorms’ will cause less damage and result in fewer casualties.

CNN have drawn up a top 10 of the best ideas developed in 2013. One of these is the Rebuild by Design innovation and design contest. Henk Ovink thought up the contest to develop plans aimed at making New York and New Jersey less vulnerable to flooding. The concept is based on the Dutch approach of giving water more room. “For centuries, the general idea was that high water issues could be counteracted by building dikes. And if a flood did occur, the dikes were raised,” according to CNN. “After superstorm Sandy which inundated parts of New York and New Jersey, the authorities are now examining another solution: allowing the water more room.”

Dutch Minister Schultz van Haegen lent Mr Ovink as a special adviser to the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. He supervises ten teams with more than 200 designers, scientists and engineers, who are developing the plans. Mr Ovink is quite pleased with his position. “All across the world, people respond in the same way: if something serious happens, they want to restore the old situation. With respect to the impact of superstorm Sandy, this is precisely the wrong response. Working against nature is no solution.”

source: Dutch government