Call for contributions to INTERPRAEVENT 2024

The topic of the conference INTERPRAEVENT 2024 is “Natural hazards in a changing climate – How to manage risks under global warming?”. The conference takes place in Vienna 10-13 June 2024.

INTERPRAEVENT 2024 connects science and practice and is an important platform for discussions. In addition, it offers a unique opportunity to meet planners, developers, decision-makers and business partners at one place. Up to 500 participants from over 20 countries are expected to attend.

We kindly invite you to submit a contribution that addresses the topics of the INTERPRAEVENT 2024. The most relevant and qualitatively outstanding contributions will be invited as oral or poster presentations at the conference. All accepted contributions will be published in electronic form.

To support young experts, the IP2024 initiated a Student Award, encouraging the exchange of thoughts and ideas for the next generation of natural hazard experts. Five most outstanding contributions will be invited to present their papers at the conference. The best student contribution will receive an award, to be voted by the fellow congress participants.

The conference is simultaneously interpreted into English and German.

You will find more information and a template to prepare your paper on the website

You can submit your contribution from 1 June 2023 until 1 November 2023.

We are looking forward to your outstanding contributions!

Call for contributions

Levees: an important and visible issue in next ICOLD 2025 congress in Chengdu (China)

Last week during the ICOLD General Assembly in Gothenburg, the questions for the next ICOLD Congress in 2025 in Chengdu (China) were voted. You can see the wording of the four questions, including sub-questions in the following pictures; levees have a large place and great visibility. This is a great success for ICOLD TC LE and EUCOLD LFD WG. We will be able to share levee related knowledge within all ICOLD, not only within our TC and WG.

You can now prepare yourselves to submit levees related papers. For those of you who are not familiar with ICOLD Congresses, the process is not the same as a typical conference. Papers are not submitted by authors directly to ICOLD, but through national committees. Each national committee has its own selection process before sending them to ICOLD where they are then automatically accepted, as long as the national committee does not exceeds its quota. So get in touch with your national committee to know the details for submitting an abstract / a paper.
Some comments about the questions and sub-questions:
Q1 : this question does not explicitly include levees, but nonetheess levees are definitely to consider when dealing with climate change in terms of river floods and coastal inundations. I think that anyway in Q1.2 it is possible to include levees. Maybe also Q1.5 as I know about some projects of having solar panels on levees, or close to them.
Q2 : levees are explicitly in the title of the question, great success there, although it is a little surprising that then there is a Q1.3 with “special case of small dams and levees”.
Q3 : levees are also explicitly in the title of the question, and they are not singled out from the dams, so even a bigger success
Q4 : levees are not mentioned in this question title, but they are in subquestion Q4.2. There may not be many case studies to present there, although the few known cases are probably very interesting to learn from. I had a discussion in Gothenburtg with Martin Weyland (chair of TC on “seismic aspects of dams design”) and he told me that one of the most catastrophic failures after an earthquake followed by a flood was on a levee. This case, as maybe others, is very interesting to learn from.

An original solution for emergency repair of a breach in a levee. What do you think of it?

Sometimes original solutions are tried to repair a levee in an emergency situation or a breach. Here’s such an example

Now this raises many comments and questions. I’d like to see yours, please reply to this post.


Register now for the POLDER2C’s Closing Conference!

We keep the coastal area of Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK safe by adapting to climate change 

Dear invitee of Polder2C’s,

We are delighted to invite you to attend the Polder2C’s Closing Conference, which will be held from the 7th of March until the 9th of March 2023 in Antwerp. We look forward to welcoming you and would be grateful if you could confirm your attendance before Monday 20 February by registering for the conference via this link. (Also, if you already preregistered). In this e-mail you will find more information on the programme, costs, registration and hotel reservations.

Feel free to forward this invitation to your fellow colleagues and any other interested parties.

Bring a young colleague to the Polder2C’s Closing Conference 

Our Next Generation of Water Managers is of great importance to keep the coastal area of the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK safe in the future. We challenge you to bring a young colleague with you to the Closing Conference. Please use the same registration link.

Programme outline Polder2C’s Closing Conference 

Monday 6 March – Possible arrival day 

What We advise you to arrive on Monday the 6th of March

Tuesday 7 March – Sharing experience and results of the Living Lab Hedwige-Prosperpolder. 

Past, Present and Future 

What Keynote speaker, Prof. Tim Soens, on 1000 years of Working with Flood Hazards and Disasters, Panel discussion on Polder2C’s objectives with a variety of interactive plenary and parallel sessions and the Polder2C’s Parade of project results.  
For Levee managers, safety experts, students, researchers and other interested parties 
Venue Flanders Meeting & Convention Center Antwerp, Entrance: Carnotstraat 4
Time 09.30 – 21.00 hours, doors open 09:00 hours – lunch and dinner offered by Polder2C’s 

Wednesday 8 March – Field Trip ‘Reliving the Polder2C’s experience’ 

What Visit to the former Living Lab Hedwige-Prosperpolder, experiencing the Field Station and a variety of interactive workshops in the field. 
For Levee managers, safety experts, students, researchers and other interested parties 
Venue Infokeet Hedwige-Prosperpolder 
Time 09.00 – 19.00 hours – lunch offered by Polder2C’s 
Meeting point 08:45 hours in front of NH-Hotel Antwerp Train Station, departure 09.00 hours by bus.

Thursday 9 March – Looking back and strengthening further collaboration   

What Impact of Polder2C’s among partners & Co and bonding towards collaboration and special Pol D’or Award Ceremony 
For Partners, observers only 
Venue Flanders Hydraulics Head Office, Antwerp, Berchemlei 115 
Time 09.00 – 21.00 hours – lunch and dinner offered by Polder2C’s 

Find a detailed programme Day 1 – Tuesday the 7th of March, attached. Programme Polder2Cs Closing Conference 7 March

Attending the conference is for free! You do not have to pay to enjoy a high-quality programme with a variety of interesting and valuable sessions from experts in the field. You only have to pay for your travel and accommodation expenses and any meals that are not included in the programme.

Registration Polder2C’s Closing Conference and hotel
You are only two steps away from joining us in Antwerp. Please register for the Closing Conference and for the hotel.  


Step 1: Registration Polder2C’s Closing Conference  

Curious to learn more about the results, the latest tools and best practices in Emergency Response, Flood Defence and Next Generation? Make sure to join our conference and register now for free!

Yes, I will register now


Step 2: Registration Hotel  

If you wish to book a hotel, we recommend booking Hotel NH Collection in the centre of Antwerp. It is very close to the various venues of the programme in Antwerp, and we have arranged a reduction of the price. You will be able to use this reduced price from Monday 6 to Friday 10 March 2023. Of course, you can also choose to book your own hotel.


Yes, I want to book the NH-Hotel


Note: The programme will start early in the morning each day and may end later in the evening, depending on the day. So please take this into account when making your travel arrangements.
More information will follow on the website Polder2C’s Closing Conference .


We hope to see you soon in Antwerp, if any questions arise, please contact Michiel Raak [0031-626462920] on


Warm regards,

Patrik Peeters and Ludolph Wentholt

Webinar on emergency repairs of levees – A call for speakers

The ICOLD European working group on levees is organising a webinar on March 16 11:00-13:00 CET to consider the ‘emergency repairs of levees’. We want speakers from across Europe and beyond to share their work on this topic, whether it is emerging research or practical experience during a flood.

This important topic will be of interest to many as climate change impacts grow and levee stocks are increasingly older. It follows the previous successful webinars on burrowing animals and temporary defences.

Presentations will be about 15 minutes using MS Teams followed by time for questions. If you want to give a presentation, please email a brief description and details of the proposed speakers by 27 January to the organising committee

We will let you know as soon after 27 January as we can. Unfortunately we may not be able to include all presentations

Figure from the International Levee Handbook


Levees in ICOLD and highlights of Levees in the Marseille ICOLD Congress

Disclaimer : this is a personal feedback on the ICOLD Congress in Marseille, obviously in regards to levees (by Rémy Tourment, Chairman of the ICOLD TC LE on Levees)

First of all, check the ICOLD newsletter (issue #20) that you can download here : where you can see that levees are taking a rightful place in ICOLD topics.
1/ Strong support from ICOLD President Michael Rogers
It is an euphemism to say that the levees topics and issues had these last years a very strong support from ICOLD President Michael Rogers and its inclusion in the long term in ICOLD. During the Marseille Congress, his support has been strong and continuous.
In all of his many public speeches over the course of the days, he often mentioned levees, talking many, many times about “levees and dams” instead about simply “dams”, which is a good way to have the message to all ICOLD Committees (national and technical) really anchored in the mind of our ICOLD community.
In the ICOLD Newsletter #20, published at the occasion of the Congress, a four pages article “Levees as a natural expansion of ICOLD’s focus” he clearly calls for this inclusion. He also mentions our TC in his article “Reflections on my terms as ICOLD President” where he has very nice and touching words.
I take this opportunity to once again sincerely and warmly thank Michael for his interest and support to the cause of levees over these years. I wish that I’ll have many other occasions to meet him again and maybe work with him in the future.
2/ Election of new ICOLD President Michel Lino
This congress was the occasion for the election of the new President.
Michel Lino, until very recently President of French Committee CFBR and now resigned, has been elected as President of ICOLD.
I’ve known him for many years. His knowledge and awareness of levees is great; he has been one of many supports of levee issues in CFBR.
I have no doubt he will also be supportive of levees issues in ICOLD during his coming term as President.
3/ Short course on Risk Analysis of Levee Systems
On Friday 27 May, the day before the official opening of the Congress, a series of shorts courses were organized as options by the French committee. I was the coordinator of one of these, on the topic of “Risk Analysis of Levee Systems”.
Before this last Friday I was rather disappointed because of the small number of registered participants by comparison to our initial expectations. I was also somewhat afraid the audience would be disappointed as the course was tailored for rather junior processionals (at least that’s what I thought), while we mostly had experienced colleagues registered, including some TC LE members.
Actually, the workshop went very well, and from my own point of view it was very interesting as the questions and discussions were pertinent and thought provoking. I can’t speak in the name of the attendees, but our TC colleagues David, Malcolm and Patrik may give you their opinion as attendants.
Presentations can be downloaded from here :
4/ Workshop of the ICOLD TC LE
We had a two hours workshop on Saturday 28 May. Its objective was mainly to present our two bulletins and get feedback from guests (ICOLD members not members of our TC).
Although I don’t have time to give you details, we were very pleased to have only positive and supportive comments. There were also interesting ideas that we can use in the future.
5/ Annual official meeting of the ICOLD TC LE
The TC meeting went also very well and was productive (as said above detailed notes will be shared).
We made the most of the available time (8 hours in total), and, even if we could have used more time for more details and exchange of ideas, we managed to deal with all our agenda items.
We are happy to welcome new members replacing members who could not manage to be active (Canada and Poland) and also new co-opted members.
A time was devoted to the EUCOLD WG activities, which also were reported during the annual meeting of the board of EUCOLD
6/ General Assembly
6.a –  ICOLD President Michael Rogers again mentioned at different times during the General Assembly levees as one of the important topics (see point 1 above).
6.b – Our bulletin “Levees and flood defences across the world – Characteristics, Risks and Governance” has been approved during the ICOLD General Assembly: all positive votes, no votes against, no abstentions.
6.c – I made a presentation later during the General Assembly, presenting our work, our deliverables and their consistency, and the plan we have to finalize the “dams-levees comparison” during the next year, including the advanced review by national committees and some technical committees. I called for more interaction with other TCs, and the involvement of national committees.
7/ A chapter about French Levees in the Congress commemorative book
Chapter 9 of the book prepared by the French Committee at the occasion of the Congress, with a lot of attention and many contributors, is dedicated to levees. I invite to read it (as well as the rest of the book…). You can download it here :
8/ Monograph on French levees
You can find here a series of descriptive leaflets on levees and levee systems prepared at the occasion of the Marseille Congress by members of CFBR: and also download all them from:
9/ Site visit on the Camargue levees
I won’t talk about it either, as it happened in parallel to the General Assembly that I attended, so I wasn’t there. In any case I am sure it was a success as I know very well the very interesting sites and different projects, having participated myself in some ways, and knowing the actors of the main interesting of these projects: Thibaut Mallet from SYMADREM and colleagues from SNCF and SYSTRA.

results start-up session International Handbook for Flood Emergency Response

On June 27 and 28 2022 we had a start up session for creating an International Handbook for Flood Emergency Response. 33 experts from 10 countries (worlwide) and 20 different organisations shared their thoughts on the goal and content of this handbook.

We are aware that many more experts are interested to participate but were not able to join us at the start-up sessions. For those interested can mail me for a summary of the results and the presentations

We kindly invite you for the next meeting. Goal of that meeting will be: can we come to a coalition of (lead) authors and reviewers to start writing the handbook by end of 2022?
We try to organise this in two sessions : one in the afternoon of October 31st (say 3 pm Paris time) and in the other in the morning of November 1st (say 10 am Paris time).

If you are intersetd to join please send me a mail ( with your name, country and organisation you reperesent and your availabilty on:
October 31st afternoon: Yes / No
November 1st morning: Yes / No

Thank you very much and I wish you all a nice and relaxing summer time,

Bart Vonk
Senior Advisor Flood Risk Management at Rijkswaterstaat
Polder2C’s – Living Lab Hedwige-Prosperpolder
Stationsplein 89 | 3818 LE Amersfoort
Postbus 2180 | 3800 CD Amersfoort
+31(0)6 52 07 75 43
Flood Defences. Emergency Response. Next Generation.


Inondations et degats lies a la crue du Rhone en 2003 – (c) R. Tourment








Invitation for start-up session International Handbook for Flood Emergency Response

Bart Vonk, a Senior Advisor in Flood Risk Management at Rijkswaterstaat, has sent an invitation to join a start-up meeting for creating an International Handbook for Flood Emergency Response. If you are interested, he has asked to let them know via this registration form , if possible before June 7.

Bart provided the following information and said was happy to include this invitation on the European Working Group website.

As we all know, floods are posing serious threats to societies worldwide. When not managed properly, they can lead to disastrous consequences, including loss of human life, damage to property and infrastructure, economic losses, and social insecurity.

Over the years, countries around the world experiencing frequently flooding, have developed different successful flood emergency approaches.

Although there are numerous national country-specific handbooks and diagnostic tools on flood emergency management, there is no international standard yet that provides a universally accepted approach, or a shared international flood risk emergency perception between different areas in the world.

Therefore, in addition to the existing handbooks, an international handbook for flood emergency response is proposed to highlight best practices and identify common approaches on flood emergency response between countries. To come to a successful development and implementation of the handbook it is important that it is demand-driven. So the handbook should provide guidelines that matches countries own practice of Flood Risk emergency response.

Until now Rijkswaterstaat, the executive office of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, together with the Dutch Foundation for Applied Water Research (STOWA) has been leading the start-up to develop such an international handbook on flood emergency response. In the last past year we got soft commitments from several partners to collaborate on this initiative. Since this is also a theme in the European funded Interreg project Polder2C’s  we have a small budget to make a step forward.

The first step is to invite you to join us in a start-up session on June or 28. Goal of this start-up session is to discuss the goal and the content of the handbook and to give you an opportunity to consider if and how you want to participate.

Working Group Webinar on temporary / mobile / demountable flood defences

The EUCOLD Working Group on Levees and Flood Defences  will organise this year two webinars, after the success of the previous one in 2021 on animal activity on levees.
The first one will be held on October 6th, from 11:00 to 13:00 CET, on the topic of temporary, mobile, demountable barriers (or defense structures).  You can now already add the date in your calendar.
The webinar will include different presentations and a large part of discussion involving the audience.
Please contact us by email, before May 15th, to propose a presentation topic, as we will need to discuss the program during the ICOLD Congress in Marseille at the end of May.
Let us also know if you have suggestions / demands regarding the topic for the next webinar that we hope to organize before the end of the year.

Picture from the International Levee Handbook

Short Course on the risk analysis of levee systems

Short courses will be given on the side-lines of the ICOLD Congress in Marseille.

One of these course will present the international approach to risk analysis of levee systems described in chapter 5 of the International Levee Handbook and its French version through “Études de dangers” (Hazard studies). Illustrated by several examples, it will address the following aspects:

  • Introduction and general framework of the risk analysis of levee systems
  • Functional analysis. Failure mode analysis
  • National and regional flood risk analysis approaches in the United Kingdom
  • A practical application to Hazard Studies in France: the example of SYMADREM (Rhone River)
  • Use of the results of the risk analysis applied to the Authion levee system (Loire River)
  • Conclusion – current practices and development needs. Decision making support

More details  on the Congress web page : 

Failure paths for levees – A report from ISSMGE TC on Levees

Levee breaches are often the result of a combination of mechanisms, which may happen simultaneously, and/or successively. These interactions are complex and difficult to anticipate in design and assessment as well as during a forensic analysis of an actual breach. The ISSMGE TC201 has published a report on the failure paths (that can also be called failure scenarios). It is available on the ISSMGE Onlline Library:

The basis for this report is a compilation of case histories, and of failure paths used for assessment and design. Part A of the report provides an overview of the key concepts in this report and presents the proposed failure tree and overview of important aspects per event in the tree. The section finishes with a discussion and recommendations. Part B contains the collection of the contributed failure paths for case studies, these failure paths are illustrated in the framework. Part C contains the collection of contributed failure paths that are used for assessment and design. A glossary of key terms used is added at the end of the report.

ICOLD 2022 Congress

The final bulletin for the Marseille 2022 ICOLD congress can be downloaded :

Save the date, Feb 3rd, 2022 | International webinar | Maas floods: sharing Dutch experiences from July 2021

Save the date | International webinar | Maas floods: sharing Dutch experiences from July 2021
Date: Thursday February 3, 2022 | 15:00 – 17:00 CET
In July 2021 in the Meuse and Rhine Region (Germany, Belgium, Netherlands), an extreme precipitation
led to flash floods and the highest ever measured discharges in the River Meuse and adjacent regional
river systems, leading to loss of life (Belgium and Germany) and very significant damages. Fortunately
there were no casualties in the Netherlands. However, damage to houses, infrastructure and our water
system was immense and estimated at 1.5 billion euro in the Netherlands alone.
A half year after this event, we have been able to evaluate this flood and identify lessons to learn. We
have repaired most of the damages caused to our water system and are now ready for a next high
water discharge. Still, many of inhabitants in the flood affected area are still traumatised and struggling
Save the date
We, the Dutch water managers of Rijkswaterstaat and the Regional Water Authorities, together with
many other stakeholders, aim to share our experiences with these floods from various viewpoints. Our
goal is to be able to share and discuss practices and knowledge. We are particularly interested in tips
and tricks on how to best prepare for and deal with a next flood.
Please mark the International webinar ‘Maas floods: sharing Dutch experiences from July 2021’ on
February 3th, 2022 (15:00-17:00 CET) in your agenda and register online. In the first hour we will share
our experiences with you, and in the second part we invite you to discuss how we can improve our
flood risk management in break-out rooms. More details on the programme will follow in the new
Are you interested? Please sign up via the following link:

Seminar on protections against overtopping erosion

Abstract Submission Deadline to the 4th international seminar was extended. For those interested, you can still send abstracts by December 20th, 2021 to You can also consult updated information about key dates and templates at

A webinar based on the ILH on the role of levees in flood risk management

CIRIA is organising a webinar about the role of levees on flood risk management, based on the International Levee handbook. All details can be found on the event web page. Please disseminate the information in your contacts.

ICOLD annual meeting for 2021

The program for the annual ICOLD meeting (15-19 Nov. 2021) is available, you can find it here : ICOLD 2021 program

You also can find more information and registration information on the dedicated web site :

The ICOLD TC on Levees will hold a workshop on Novembre 18th from 12:00 to 13:30 (Paris time). I hope we will  “meet” many of us there.

Spillways on River Levees

The English translation of a previous French handbook about spillways on river levees is now ready. It can already be pre-ordered as a physical book, and it will be available as an open access ebook from October 1st.

More information on :

See also the flyer.


A new paper on levee investigations is available

Dear collegues

My new paper on levee investigations <A new levee control system based on geotechnical and geophysical surveys
including active thermal sensing: A case study from Poland >

is available next 50 days in Engineering Geology journal for free.

link to download

Best regards,

Krzysztof Radzicki

FLOODrisk conference papers available online

The repository for the FLOODrisk conference papers is now open. You can find read and download all the conference papers in it.

There are different ways to brwose the papers, by author, title or subject. The main web site for the conference is sill open, and the program by sessions ( may help you identify papers of interest for your own activity.

Peat soil – often breaks

In the west of the Netherlands a peat “dike” failed today

The original soil is the core of the dike, the surrounding soil has subsided and oxidized.

The dike probably failed due to the fact it dried out, the recent abundant rainfall is only the trigger.

The polder consists of agricultural land

A first step in trying to understand and document what occurred between July 12th and July 23rd in the Meuse river basin, and the effects on the Netherlands

A first step in trying to understand and document what occurred between July 12th and July 23rd in the Meuse river basin.

This was an exceptional weather event. However it was correctly predicted.

In Germany in the Eifel region (mainly tributaries to the Rhine) they had 3 months of rainfall in 36 hours and in Belgium in the Ardennes (tributaries to the Meuse river) they had 2 months of rainfall in 24 hours. People had been warned in most cases. Both the emergency services and the public clearly underestimated the consequences. There was no clear messaging.


Messaging should be timely, specific, in the language people speak, and should be understandable. People have to be able to relate to previous events to understand the predicted event, to be able to take the proper measures so stay safe.

Institutional changes are often needed after a flood. Especially when the time needed for a flood alert and a proper response is extremely short. In the Netherlands, the tidal hydrologists were merged with the meteorologists in the same organisation after the 1953 flood (for storm surges). The Czech Republic has set up centres where the emergency services were added to a team of hydrologists and meteorologists to cope with flash floods since the 2003 flood event.


Most of the damage in the Netherlands is from overland flow/flash floods from streams in valleys. In Germany and Belgium, this was also the case.

Institutional errors were made in the messaging to the public, in the construction and operation of reservoirs and probably in spatial planning. The Netherlands has very clear spatial planning rules for major rivers, but is rather bad at the enforcement of these rules. The Netherlands can learn a lot from Belgium, where they have recently enforced spatial planning rules in flood prone areas vigorously.


In the Netherlands at the gauging station Sint Pieter (near Maastricht), at km 10 on the Meuse River in the Netherlands a discharge of 3260 m3/s was measured. This is the highest discharge measured since the start of formal measurements in 1911. Other high is discharges this century all occurred in the winter:  December 22nd of 1993, 3120 m3/s. January 1st 1926 ~3000 m3/s and January 1995 2870 m3/s.

The previous highest summer discharge was about 1000 m3/s in 1980.


In the Netherlands in one town, Valkenburg the direct damage is about 200 million euros and the indirect damage is about the same amount. In Germany and Belgium, damages are a lot higher. The damages to the railway systems is already above one billion euro’s.


This extreme discharge on the Meuse River has a return period of about 100 years (for the winter statistics) at km 10 Borgharen[1]. However, this was a summer discharge. Rijkswaterstaat, KNMI and Deltares are, currently investigating what the relationship is between climate change and this flood event.


The flood wave was exceptionally short and high. This means that the water levels downstream corresponded with return periods of 25 years (Venlo, km 108) and 10 years at Gennep (km 155)


The measures of the large project the Meuse Works were largely effective. The Meuse Works was a complex project. It was a mixture of sand and gravel mining project including landscaping afterwards, room for the river measures and heightening and strengthening of dikes constructed hastily in 1995 and 1996.

The dikes constructed in 1995 and 1996 after the floods of 1993 and 1995 removed 40 % of the flood plain from the river. Some of these dikes have been built perpendicular to the flow of the river. So these dikes obstruct the flow of the river.

This means that at some locations especially at Maastricht the observed river levels were a lot higher than in 1993, while the recent discharge in 2021 was only about 100 m3/s higher (an effect of less than 10cm). At other locations, the increased river flow was also influenced by changes in the relationship between the tributaries in the Netherlands and the main river. In the Meuse Valley the Netherlands seem to be protecting a lot of pasture and seem to forget the cities and the national infrastructure (highways and railways).


The Water Management Centre for the Netherlands (WMCN) correctly predicted the water levels in the Meuse River, both the expected water levels and the time of the peak discharge at each spot of the river. There were 21 bulletins, during the peak discharge three to four (if a correction was needed) per day. Some figures were manually adjusted because of backflow due to flow from the tributaries, also some recent room for the river measures were not included in the model and due to weirs which were being refurbished and could not be completely opened. Instead of waiting for corrected data, the regional water authority in Limburg carried out their own predictions, which were more erroneous than those from Rijkswaterstaat (especially in the timing of the peak). These alternative “facts” also caused confusion within the teams responsible for crisis management.


Normally new models go on line on or before October 1st the start of the winter season. The new model (not yet online) is currently being tested at Deltares has already been corrected for the room for the river measures and can use real data for the flow from tributaries (instead of statistical relations).


The national committee on floods provides information on the impact of the flooding. The national government and the water boards provide the input for this information.


The regional water authority in Limburg[2] and Rijkswaterstaat were heavily involved in the flood fighting. Rijkswaterstaat had to sandbag a spot on a canal dike which had flooded a village (Meersen). The local population also initiated a number of measures. Sandbags were often placed where dike had not been reinforced yet to comply with the new standards, to combat piping and probably also slope stability or to reinforce mobile flood barriers (against uplift). Some people built their own dikes to protect their houses in the flood plain (e.a. at Horn for ten houses). There the temporary dike made up of not compacted top soil and plastic foil failed. The municipality had helped. The regional water authority was not involved. None of the sandbags had an influence on the water levels downstream in the provinces of North-Brabant (with the city of ‘s Hertogenbosch) and Gelderland where you have the largest population densities. This was also due to the very short discharge wave, less than a week.


Other regional water authorities and Rijkswaterstaat personnel assisted in the Limburg. The request for assistance was done through the union of water boards / union of regional water authorities ( All assistance was coordinated through STOWA (from their vacation locations abroad).

The national committee on floods (LCO) also provided personnel from the Crisis Team for Flood Defences. The men and women from the military were very effective in sand bagging an eroded weir maintained by Rijskwaterstaat and in sandbagging a number of dikes for the regional water authority. After the floods they have started removing fallen trees from the tributaries to the Meuse.


Every flood wave on a river causes damages both above the water line and below the water line. Some of the damage has been tackled through emergency measures as sandbags. The winter season will start within two and half months. This means all dikes, structures and the riverbed have to be inspected and the most important damages have to be repaired before October 1st 2021. Some of the damages occurred to structures where we knew there was an issue for over twenty years.

One example is the sluice gate of the “Zuid Willemsvaart” a 19th century structure. This set of gates is too low. More than 2 meters of water overtopped the gates.

This canal is directly connected to the Albert Canal in Belgium. There is no flood risk in the Netherlands, which is why this problem had not yet been tackled. However houses in Genk (50 km away) in Belgium along the canal were flooded due to increased discharges from Belgium and the Netherland to the canal. Our water systems do not stop at the border. Closer cooperation is needed.


The Meuse river and the tributaries reacted differently to the extreme rainfall event than we expected. This means we need to look into flood risk for the whole river system including the tributaries. Cooperation with Belgium and Germany is advised. For the Netherlands this means we have to look at the main river from Eijsden (km 0) until Keizersveer (km 250) and we should not forget cross border flooding.


This flood is a good warning for everyone who has built in the flood plain since 1995. There are more than 2500 houses now when in 1995 there were only a few hundred. People are not protected and by law should not get their damages reinbursed from the disaster fund if the house was built after 1995.


Since 2017 all flood defences are allowed to fail at a certain agreed level. For each and every flood defence this protection level has been described in the water act (in the last update from 2014), see the Fundementals on Flood Defences[3]. This means that a number of the measures prepared since 2010 for the Meuse river, the “systeem maatregelen” no longer seem fit for purpose. These measures were devised as a compensation for the fact that formally the 45 former “dike rings” / dike systems along the Meuse will no longer be considered part of the flood plain. As mentioned before this removes 40% of the flood plain from the river and endangers cities like Maastricht. The Netherlands seem to want give pastures almost the same level as protection as neighbouring cities. The former provincial government (2 years ago) wanted to correct this. The current provincial government seems not to want any changes.


Due to climate change, a larger part of the valley will become flood prone. A 6000 m3/s means about 60 km2 should be included in the formal flood plain. Floods in this area also protect the cities downstream by lowering the design water levels by about 30 cm. This will require new spatial planning measures, since the population has to be informed of this flood risk.


Two years ago the province of Limburg has drafted a good plan to tackle this issue by removing or lowering the status of 22 of 45 dikes systems along the river. This means the province focusses on the cities and towns along the river, which need extra protection. It is easier and more acceptable to evacuate a village of 1000 people than a city of 20 000. The population who live along the river initiated these plans, they prefer a good view, and a few scares, and maybe a flood than huge dikes in front of their houses. This situation is different from Amsterdam (Durgerdam) where a few hundred people do not want to reinforce a dike (because it is next to their house) but the dike protects more than half a million people.

The Delta commissioner in his response to the plans by the province does not seem to understand that the cities of Maastricht and ‘s-Hertogenbosch are at stake, including the national infrastructure (highways and railroads). If the Meuse valley is to remain liveable and climate proof urban developments should be planned in the main cities and towns and not in the flood plain which is still largely empty.


The problems in the tributaries to the Meuse River have been neglected for a long time. Every ten to twenty years there is a flood event. People get used to it, but the impact of these flood events will increase over time and due to climate change. At a certain point people, start dying in large numbers, as we can see in Belgium and Germany. E.g. people expected a larger discharge with water levels about 3 meters higher than normal, not 7 meters. Planners have to think through the worst credible floods. An event with a return period of 1000 years is not un-imaginable. You have to know if the event is deadly or not before you allow a new urban development or even the construction of one single house, which is not adapted for a flood event.


Another reason why the impact of the floods were higher may be the construction of reservoirs for rainfall events with return periods of 10 and 25 years in the tributaries to the Meuse River in the Netherlands. When there is a rainfall event the managers of the water systems should – discharge – the hold on to the water in fields, then use reservoirs and then again discharge. In this way the tributaries react naturally to the high precipitation event and they discharge into the main river the Meuse before the peak flows have reached from the Ardennes in Belgium[4].


As a researcher, a large flood event is also an event to learn from:

  • What is the impact of climate change? If we cool the climate by two degrees in our climate model for the data of week of July 15th (1 degree more than the current change in temperature), will the same precipitation event be seen?
  • Understanding why this precipitation caused this particular flood wave.
    • Looking into the precipitation events just weeks before and after the event,
      • Can we see a pattern?
      • Were the systems and the soil full or empty?
      • Was this the worst case, if we move the precipitation event 50 km to the west, to coincide with a larger part of the Meuse basin, what will happen?
    • Understanding how the flow wave moves through the river
      • This was an event with a short duration, the upstream areas in the Netherlands and Belgium were hit the worst, in the downstream areas the discharge wave was uneventful
      • Why do datasets for the same model of the river, provides such immense differences in design wate levels (sometimes almost a meter), is this the effect of the discharge wave and the relationship with the tributaries?
      • Should we consider both the height and width of discharge waves in the probabilistic modelling for determining hydraulic boundary conditions?
    • Understanding the relationship between the tributaries and the river
      • Due we understand the relationship for each tributary,
      • Was this the worst case?
      • How can we modify the relationship to reduce damages? Is this wise with expected climate change?
    • What happened below the water level
      • Was there a large bed flow
      • Where can we observe sedimention and erosion
      • Do we understand why this happened
      • Is this a reason to worry,
        • Are control structures in danger due to erosion or debris?
        • Are flood defences in danger due to erosion (deep scour holes can destabilise a dike)
        • Are flood defences in danger due to sedimentation and debris, because of higher water levels
      • Where do we see damage to structures and flood defences, can we explain the reason they were damaged?.
        • Is damage only due to overtopping, e.g. for a weir
        • Where was piping and seepage observed ?
      • In 2007-20014 chocking points on the river were modelled, did they occur, or was the flood wave too low at these sites?


[1][1] The Meuse rivier starts at kilometer 0 on the border at Eijsden in the Netherlands, this is about at km 700 if you start counting at the source in France on the Langres Plateau. the nuber stop at about 60 km before the sea in the Amer, the Rhine/Meuse Estuary.



[4] Actualisatie beschrijving laterale toestroming Maas, Rolf van der Veen, 2018 and Van regen tot Maas. Grensoverschrijdend waterbeheer in droge en natte tijden’  Marcel de Wit, Uitgeverij Veen Magazines (ISBN 978-90-8571-230-5).

A new document on “Methods and techniques for reinforcing and repairing protection levees”

A new report has been approved by the CFBR Executive Board, and is published on the French  committee’s website, “Documentation” tab:

Methods and techniques for reinforcing and repairing protection levees

This is the deliverable of the CFBR “Levees” Working Group. It is made up of two parts:
– a first, “General framework”:
– a second, “Technical data sheets”:

This accomplishment is the result of many years of work. At the moment this document is only available in French, but the working group  is now starting the process of translation into English, with the aim to have a first part ready for the Marseille ICOLD congress.

Webinar on Animal Burrowing – feedback

It was good to see so many at the workshop 30 June (67 people in total). Some presentations are already on the website (see, the others will follow as soon as possible.

The speakers were excellent and we are very grateful to them. Hopefully we will be able to have another event later this year. In the meantime, if you want to be kept up to date on news from the Working Group please sign up for membership to the website (see

FLOODrisk online conference 22-24 June 2021

The FLOODrisk conference starts tomorrow. A very attractive program including plenary sessions, parallel sessions ans special sessions has been prepared; see it here :

Join us and let’s share knowledge and experiences!

Webinar on Animal Burrowing (30/6/21) – Final program

The webinar on Animal Burrowing will take place on June 30.

11:00 CET          Welcome
11:05                  1. English perspective on managing badgers in embankments (Paul Arnold, EA)
11:20                  2. Detection of cavities in levees and forelands caused by beavers (Torsten Heyer, TU Dresden; Michael Arndt, Secon Systems)
11:40                  3. Experiences with the beaver during high water 2021 (Wijnand Evers, Waterboard Drents Overijsselse Delta)
11:55                  4. A glimpse of another animal active in and around levees (Heleen Keirsebelik, UAntwerpen)
12:00                  Exchanging thoughts and experiences on animal activity on levees
12:25                  Feedback on webinar and poll for future topics

Please send an email to to receive a MS Teams-invitation!
Adrian, Patrik & Rémy

2019 Japan flood reports are published

The reports of levee failures, etc. in 2019 Typhoon Hagibis is published in English by the Japanese Geotechnical Society. The reports are open access.
Including, “Levee damage and bridge scour by 2019 typhoon Hagibis in Kanto Region, Japan”

Backslope erosion by overtopping at the Naka River levee (Photo : Hirotoshi Mori)

A WG webinar on animal activity on levees

We are very pleased to announce the first webinar of the Working Group on Levees and Flood Defences of the European Club of ICOLD, about animal activity on our levees, which will be held June 30th from 11:00 to 12:30 CET. Please email Patrik if you want to attend. He will send you an appointment which you can also forward to any others you think would be interested.  Three presenters will be given the floor to share experiences and expertise with respect to prevention, detection, assessing severity, repairing, regulation and any other issue related to animal activity challenging the integrity of levees, in particular from the levee managers’ point of view. After these presentations, a large part of the session will be devoted to discussion and further exchanges between all of the participants.

Please email  Adrian/Patrik/Rémy by Friday 4 June

  1. If you would like to be a presenter for the 30 June webinar. Presentations will be up to 15 minutes long. Depending on the number of responses we may have to select who will be a speaker.
  2. We are considering organising a second knowledge sharing session in autumn of this year. Let us know what topics you would like to hear about it.

Adrian Rushworth

Patrik Peeters

Rémy Tourment

Photo source and copyright :

Special session in the FLOODrisk conference on risk based decision making for levees

During the FLOODrisk 2020 conference (happening in June 2021) , a special session  ‘Risk Informed Decision Making for Levees and Flood Defences’ will take place virtually on Tuesday 22 June 2021 from 13:30 to 15:00. This special session is organised by EUCOLD LFD WG and ICOLD TC members.

Special Session: Risk Informed Decision Making for Levees and Flood Defences

For more information visit the Special Session Hub. To access this page, you will need to be registered online. If you haven’t done so yet, tou need to  Register Now Here.

Grass roots

Very interesting post in Linkedin about grass roots, which shows we still have a lt to learn on this topic :  link

Discovery of ancient levee in the Netherlands

Near the town of Vlaardingen, remnants have been found of an ancient construction that probably served as a low levee. The construction was about 1 metre in height, at least 20 metres long, and consisted of a dual construction consisting of wooden piles and braided willow branches, that was subsequently filled with earth.

The levee was probably constructed over 2000 years ago, during the 2nd century BC. As such, it is probably the most ancient levee discovered so far in the Netherlands.


See  for some pictures.

FLOODrisk conference

The FLOODrisk international conference on Food Risk management, postponed from 2020, is now scheduled from 21st to 25th June 2021 online. You can find all details here: 

Registration is open.

EGU virtual conference – Submissions deadline January 20th.

I received from a colleague  this information that I wanted to share with you:

DO NOT FORGET THAT… Is that time of the year were we get crazy and excited about submitting abstracts for EGU ! Deadline for abstract submission is extended to the 20th of January 2021, 13:00 CET. This 2021 promises an even more exciting event as we started our session on “Advances in modelling, failure assessment and monitoring of levees and other flood defences”. We want to start this session as a tradition for dikes and other flood defences practioners and researchers to have the opportunity to meet in a yearly basis and share our findings and relate to other world known flood risk experts. Please submit your abstract and contribute to the start of this hopefully yearly tradition for flood risk and flood resilience enthusiasts.  Please feel free to forward the invitation to any dike enthusiast who you think may be interested either in submitting something or attending to the session. Looking forward to your abstract submission !