Managing Water

Watching the news this weekend and seeing the horror playing out in Texas due to Hurricane Harvey made me think back to my visit to the Kinderjik in The Netherlands. The great North Sea Flood of 1953 cause fantastic damage and loss of life in the Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Realizing that such infrequent events could recur, the Netherlands and The United Kingdom carried out major studies on strengthening of coastal defenses. The Netherlands developed the Delta Works, an extensive system of dams and storm surge barriers. The UK constructed storm surge barriers on the River Thames below London and on the River Hull where it meets the Humber estuary.

One would have hoped that the lessons from the Dutch and Hurricane Katrina would have helped us. But it appears that rampant overbuilding and careless water management in Houston and other Texas cities has set up another costly lesson for the USA.

I know that New Orleans has had teams from Holland come over to present their ideas. One can only hope they learn that in order to keep the water out and preventing damage, you actually have to let some of the water in and control its course.

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Water Management Canal

National Geographic at Kinderjik

Last time we visited Holland we took a tour of the UNESCO site at Kinderjik. The Windmills of Kinderdijk are along the Rhine River in Holland south of Amsterdam. They are used to manage water and eliminate flooding and have been in existence since the 15th Century.

Our guide told us that this yellow wooden frame was to mark the spot where a National Geographic Cover was photographed. I don’t think that the yellow frame was placed by the Magazine but rather the tourist authority that manages the site.

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National Geographic at Kinderjik