Big stretch of Zeeland dykes and dunes falls short of safety norms

The Dutch Belgian border in Zeeland. Photo: Odi Busman
The Dutch Belgian border in Zeeland. Photo: Odi Busman

Over a quarter of the dykes and dunes in Zeeland fall short of safety norms and have to be shored up before 2050, an assessment by the Scheldestromen water board has shown.

The results of the assessment do not come as a surprise, water board spokesman Philipp Keller said. ‘The sea level is rising more quickly then previously assumed, which is why the safety norms were tightened in 2017. We need to invest so Zeeland remains the most climate proof delta in the world and a safe place for future generations.’

The cost of making this part of the coastal defense system safe would come to around €1.5 billion, the water board estimates. The board will be responsible for 10% of the costs and and the rest of the money will come from the government and the other water boards.

The water board has warned the cost of Dutch coastal defenses will go up in years to come and is in talks with the government about ways to finance maintenance.

In all, a 114 kilometre stretch of dykes and dunes does not conform to the new norms, the board said, although there is no danger of breaches at the moment.

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