New Delta Flume takes Dutch dike expertise forward

Published: 5 October 2015

The Netherlands has a new hydraulic research facility. Ministers Schultz van Haegen (Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment) and Kamp (Ministry of Economic Affairs) opened the new Deltares Delta Flume in Delft today. The Delta Flume will be the location for full-scale studies of the effects of extreme waves on dikes, dunes or breakwaters.

The highest artificial waves in the world

The Delta Flume is 300 metres long, 5 metres wide and 9.5 metres deep. The ten-metre-high wave board can simulate any wave pattern found at sea or in rivers: waves up to 5 metres high! Artificial waves of this height cannot be generated anywhere else on the planet. Research in the Delta Flume can save a lot of money, for example with regards to investments in flood protection.

Maarten Smits, the Managing Director of Deltares: ‘Major sums are invested annually to reduce the risks associated with life in deltas. Those investments can sometimes be excessively high, or in the wrong locations. It would be fantastic to have a better idea in advance of the usefulness, necessity and effect of our investments. If we can manage to reduce them by even 10%, that is an enormous saving!’

Intense international interest

The Netherlands is a global leader in the field of water management. With this new research facility, we will be developing knowledge in which there is also intense international interest. The research results will help to develop solutions to complex climate challenges in delta areas throughout the world.

Minister Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and the Environment: ‘The Delta Flume shows that we have everything we need to be the planet’s testing ground. And there are benefits for everyone. We are leading the way with innovative solutions for our own water challenges. And we can supply other countries with the expertise we develop.”

Spectacular tsunami wave generated at the opening of the Delta Flume today.

Spectacular tsunami wave generated at the opening of the Delta Flume today.

Demonstration of the successful top-sector policy

The Delta Flume demonstrates the success of the top-sector policy. Government authorities, business and scientists have collaborated on the development of this pioneering innovation. That is why the opening of the Delta Flume was combined with the signing ceremony for the ‘2016-2017 Knowledge and Innovation Contract’ in which the government, business and research institutes in the nine top sectors have set out their joint ambitions and commitment for the years to come.