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Flood control challenges

The delegation included representatives from amongst others Louisiana Economic Development, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, The Water Institute of the Gulf, the Port of New Orleans and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. They explored flood control challenges facing the Netherlands, examined solutions that could be applied to risk reduction in Louisiana, while also sharing their expertise and experiences.

Governor Edwards: “This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from international leaders in flooding prevention, and to grow our economy while we’re at it”.

Room for the river

Governor Edwards saw first-hand the Noordwaard polder project, part of the Room for the River Programme. The Programme is one of the Netherlands’ most ambitious and innovative flood control infrastructure innovations. Frans Klijn (flood risk expert at Deltares) gave a presentation about the challenges and impact of this project and gave them a tour around the polder. The delegation also visited Kinderdijk to see the historic application of Dutch flood risk management.

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Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards, accompanied by former Deltares employee and miller Wijnand Westerveld (right) at Kinderdijk.

Deltares campus

The delegation visited the Deltares campus in Delft to exchange best practice examples and tour the facilities, including the Delta Flume which is currently testing the design of dikes around salt ponds in Western Australia. They were welcomed by Dirk-Jan Walstra (Director Hydraulic Engineering Deltares), Rosh Ranasinghe (coastal expert and IPCC-author) and Wiebe de Boer (expert ports and harbours).

Dirk-Jan Walstra: “Governor Edwards’ visit was inspiring and timely. We had a frank exchange of ideas and discussed the challenges facing both Louisiana and the Netherlands. As low-lying deltas, climate change and sea level rise have a huge impact on our regions. We were also proud to show Governor Edwards and the delegation the Deltares experimental facilities, including the Delta Flume, and stressed the importance of using these facilities alongside our software to provide sound knowledge-based advice for policy makers. We hope that we can continue to share knowledge and expertise together, learning from each other as we deepen our collaboration with The Water Institute.”

Henk Ovink

The trip is the result of an invitation from the Kingdom of the Netherlands Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Ambassador Henk Ovink, who accompanied Governor Edwards and the delegation and discussed the latest Dutch flood risk and water management advancements.

“Working together on water starts with understanding and valuing water better. Louisiana and the Netherlands share similar challenges and opportunities, and importantly have a shared ambition to step up to the water, climate, and sustainability needs. This visit comes at a critical time in the run up to next year’s UN 2023 Water Conference – only the second one ever, and the first in 46 years. Forging coalitions such as the one between Louisiana and the Netherlands and staging our best practices at the UN 2023 Water Conference, can inspire the world to scale up and replicate the needed actions. With Deltares and the Water Institute this partnership has an inspiring and innovative base to build off on, with commitments for catalytic actions, towards 2023 and beyond”.

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