Groundwater: our invisible friend

Marta Faneca is a hydrogeologist and expert in groundwater management. In her presentation she shows why groundwater is of vital importance: “Groundwater is our invisible friend”. Marta believes that groundwater is poorly understood and therefore unloved by many people. “Groundwater is critical,” she says. “Approximately 50% of the world's population depends on it. Yet few people know how important it is for a safe living environment. We must see groundwater as a friend that keeps us healthy.”

Building a climate-proof society

Thomas Bles is an expert in the field of resilient infrastructure. Thomas explains why infrastructure is the basis of a climate-proof society. “Reliable infrastructure cannot be taken for granted. Natural threats such as floods or forest fires disrupt infrastructure and can disrupt daily life as a result,” says Thomas. “If we better understand the infrastructure, infrastructure can play a guiding role in the climate-proof design of the Netherlands.”

Determine course together

Ruben Dahm is an expert in the field of hydrology and flood risk. During his presentation, he shares his vision on the future of climate adaptation and the integration of Artificial Intelligence. “The world is changing faster than ever before,” he says. “To make the right decisions, it is important to set the course together,” he says. “I see co-creation as a form of collaboration with all those involved who influence the process and the result.”

Panel discussion at the end

The three presentations were followed by a panel discussion with Marlouke Durville (Chief Engineer-Director of Water, Traffic and the Environment RWS), Rogier van de Sande (Dijkgraaf of the Rijnland Water Board), Peter van Velzen (from Nature, Fisheries and Rural Areas, LNV ) and Annemieke Nijhof (general director of Deltares). The panel discussed the reliability of the infrastructure and the importance of co-creation.

They were also asked whether nature and the economy will be damaged if we do not treat groundwater better. The answer is resounding: “Yes! If the groundwater level continues to fall, nature and the economy will suffer considerable damage as a result, not only in the Netherlands, but also worldwide.”

The discussion ended with a concluding message: “Look through the eyes of our children to clarify the plans for future water and soil management.”

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