Living on the water
Natural climate buffers provide more safety and better water supply. Moreover, they can connect cities and villages with beautiful, water-abundant landscapes. This creates new forms of housing construction, recreational facilities, water treatment and water production, while preserving our cultural-historical heritage.
Natural climate buffers catch water and retain it as long as necessary. During wet periods, this lowers peaks in rivers, polder drainage systems and basins. They also make the coast safer. During drier periods, more good-quality water will remain available for arable farming, nature and urban areas. Additional safety is created when the ground starts to silt up again. A striking example is the ‘Verdronken Land van Saeftinghe’ (Drowned Land of Saeftinghe) in the Westerschelde estuary. This outer-dike area, which had been abandoned around 1570, is now the highest situated ground in the Province of Zeeland, thanks to ongoing silting.
Better living environment
A green neighbourhood with a great deal of surface water can be 6ºC cooler in hot summers than a neighbourhood without green. This makes a substantial difference, especially for older people. The content of particulate matter is also significantly lower in green neighbourhoods. Moreover, climate buffering in and around cities results in less algal bloom and botulism.
Economy and innovation
Safety and sufficient clean water are important for the economy. But equally important is the knowledge gained from working with climate buffers. The Netherlands is a worldwide leader in the field of hydraulic engineering and nature development. Finding the right balance between space for natural processes and hydraulic engineering is a considerable challenge in many parts of the world and can become an increasingly important ‘export product’. Particularly in connection with other activities, this will also involve the use of architectural skills. This type of ‘Dutch Approach’ will enable the Netherlands to further distinguish itself internationally.