25 maart 2006
Haskoning inspires students to tackle delta problems
About half the world's population lives in delta areas, which are extremely vulnerable to floods coming from the landward side and storms coming from the seaward side. Problems can also derive from human activity like deforestation, erosion, mining activities or dam constructions. Royal Haskoning, a Dutch consultancy with branches worldwide, has launched the global Deltacompetition to extract inspiring and unexpected solutions for the sustainable development of delta areas.
"We are rooted in a technical background, but with this competition we show that we also want to think about solutions for important social issues like climate change", Stefan Nijwening, water and coastal zone policy advisor at Haskoning, said.
Almost half of the participants come from Dutch universities, which is not surprising since water management is an important discipline in a country that lies largely below sea level. Other teams also come from countries with important delta areas, like Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Egypt, China, Thailand and Vietnam.
Nijwening is excited about the themes, chosen by the participants. "One of the plans concerns the ecological re-design of the catastrophic situation of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan", he specifies. "At this stage it is hard to judge how innovative the plan is, but we like the emphasis on ecology. Another plans targets at involving the local communities in reforestation to fight erosion. I think most of the innovations derive from the fact that we explicitly asked for a multidisciplinary approach. Then people come up with new solutions."
Inscription for global Deltacompetition is closed already. Participants are now writing their full proposals, which will be reviewed by a jury, consisting of scientists. The result will be presented in October, at the festivities for the 125th anniversary of Royal Haskoning. The ten best plans will be published in a book.
Stefan Nijwening: "The copyrights of the plans remain with the authors. If very practical and feasible plans derive from this competition, Haskoning will certainly be interested in implementation."
Deltacompetition Royal Haskoning