Landrieu Leads Second CODEL To Netherlands to Study Dutch Flood Protection

Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., will this month lead the second Congressional Delegation to the Netherlands to study the Dutch integrated water management system. Louisiana and administration officials, including EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, will join Sen. Landrieu to study the world-class water management and flood protection system in the Netherlands, which shares many of Louisiana’s challenges in protecting populations and economic infrastructure below sea level.

In early 2006, Sen. Landrieu along with the Royal Netherlands Embassy led an initial Codel to the Netherlands. Since 2006, Louisiana has made progress in protecting coastal communities, including 100-year flood protection for the New Orleans region to be completed by 2011, but this trip will help the state assess remaining challenges. Sen. Landrieu will also explore policies, which may include innovative Dutch technologies and practices, that can reduce the persistent delays and cost overruns of Army Corps of Engineers projects.

Also joining the CODEL:
Director, Governors Office of Coastal Activities Garret Graves, New Orleans City Council President Jackie Clarkson; Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East Regional Director Bob Turner; Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives from Corps headquarters and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army; Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Staff Director Bettina Poirier; New Orleans Director of Disaster Mitigation Dr. Earthea Nance; American Planning Association Executive Director/CEO Paul Farmer; LEVEES.ORG EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANDY ROSENTHAL; American Society of Civil Engineers President Wayne Klotz; Center for Planning Excellence, Camille Manning-Broome; Louisiana Speaks, Lee Einsweiler; LSU Hurricane Center Interim Director Joseph Suhayda.

Tuesday, May 26: AMSTERDAM
Site visit and briefings include: Amsterdam WaterNet, the city water management and supply agency, on living with water: flood control, ground and surface water levels, water quality and ecosystem health; Amsterdam City Architect Ton Schaap briefing and tour of the Eastern Docks and Ijburg: discussion of successful redevelopment projects, as well as water management, flood safety and economic vitality working in tandem.
Wednesday, May 27: THE HAGUE
Briefings include: Association of Dutch Water Boards; Netherlands Parliament, Committee on Water Management; Cees Veerman, Chairman of the Delta Committee; Tineke Huizinga,Vice Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management.
Thursday, May 28, 2009: ROTTERDAM and DELFT
Site visit and briefings include: Rotterdam city architects on Rotterdam Waterplan and the city’s climate-proof initiatives; Delft Technical University briefing on Delta Urbanism; Deltares, the leading research/scientific organization on water, soil, modeling, climate change.
Friday, May 29: KAMPEN
Site visit and briefings include: Officials from Kampen on projects under construction, river diversion for flood safety, flood safety created by dredged material, ecosystem restoration and urban flood risk mitigation efforts.

7 responses to “Landrieu Leads Second CODEL To Netherlands to Study Dutch Flood Protection”

  1. Frans Stappers says:

    I was born, educated and started my profession in Rotterdam. Thus until I moved away I lived “with” levees. Nothing special.
    This is the 2nd time the powers to be go at tax payers expense to look at
    the Dutch protection system since early 2006, when I was there to visit family.
    If they learned nothing then, they will not learn anything new now; the system in Holland has not drastically changed since December 2005.
    The only thing I can add is that in Holland politics do not play an important role when it comes to protecting the majority of the population against flooding.
    Frans Stappers

  2. Dear Frans,

    First, all of the invited guests – including me – are paying their own airfare and lodging.

    Second, this is CoDel Two, and will focus on a different set of objectives than the first trip. This is not a repeat of CoDel One.

    If you have input you believe I should know, please write to me.

  3. HeidiHoe says:

    Frans hit the nail on the head, regarding the role of “politics” in all this.

    One of their concepts is the “polder system,” which will be interesting to see actually executed in New Orleans. My guess it will become a “polder vs polder battle” instead of Lower 9th Ward, Lakeview, Plaquemines, etc….

    No matter how the lines are drawn there will be turf battles I’m guessing.

    I’d be interested in seeing a “storm parameter comparison” and a “physical setting comparison” between the New Orleans and Dutch settings.

    Compare such things as:

    1. Storm surge design height’s

    2. Maximum wind speeds during design storm

    3. Wind direction for design storm

    4. Precipitation during design storm

    5. “Depth to bedrock” in both locations

    6. Dike construction (do the Dutch use “floodwalls” or earthen berms?)

    7. Critical storm period (summer, winter, etc)

  4. HeidiHoe says:

    The reason for my wanting a “side by side” comparison of some of the technical aspects of New Orleans situation and the Dutch situation is echoed in Part II of an ongoing three part posting at LACOASTPOST.COM; where one storm is referenced as a “wolf at the door” and the other as a “tame puppy.”

    I understand (and would like to confirm) that the “Dutch 10,000 surge elevation” (height) is roughly equal to that of the New Orleans 100 to 500 year storm surge elevation.

    Is this indeed true????

    Seems like the Gulf’s warmer storms would indeed have more strength than the cooler North Atlantic storms.

    Is this true????

    How exactly do they compare????

    This would be extremely useful information to either publish here now or to bring back from your trip and publish here.

  5. HeidiHoe, you’re right this stuff is not intuitive.

    People might naturally think that 1,000 year protection for metro New Orleans requires 10 times higher levees than 100 year protection and is 10 times as expensive. Not so. In fact, it is a difference of only about 3 feet of levee height.

    I addressed this also in LACOASTPOST.COM

    Poldering is a wise idea as well, and is already part of planning dialog in New Orleans. Very likely it may become a household word soon in south Louisiana.

  6. A considerable period of time has passed since the first visit to the Netherlands. What–if anything–has been done between then and now to implement what was learned from the trip?

  7. S. Rosenthal says:

    Dear Jessica,
    The first CoDel was Jan 2006., only recently launched, wasn’t invited, but I know they focused on the large perimeter barrier structures in Holland. These barriers are not unlike the structure the Corps of Engineers is now building east of New Orleans that will be finished by 2011.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.