4 November 2013

Floods in western Netherlands: things could change in the future

by Rosa Vicari / École des Ponts ParisTech

On the 12th and 13rd of October, the West of the Netherlands suffered from floods due to heavy rainfall, especially in the regions around Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Utrecht. The KNMI station in Rotterdam airport registered 54.6 mm in 24 hours on 13 October, while some areas in Rotterdam and the surrounding region received almost 100 mm.
Local water authorities promptly reacted by lowering polder water levels, installing tens of additional mobile pumps, filling storage basin, sending frequent updates on flood control actions.Worst damages were avoided, but the overall estimated costs for these operations amount to several Million Euros. The city of Rotterdam as well as other cities in the area and the fire brigade received many calls reporting flooded roads and flood damage to cellars.
In the future, these costs can be reduced in Rotterdam
Indeed, thanks to the new rain radar that will be installed on the roof of one of the highest buildings in the city centre, water service operators will have access to detailed information on rainfall and will be able to better cope with intense storms. The X-band radar will provide data at a time and space scale that is needed for urban areas and is currently unavailable. This last generation radar, as well as the one that is being installed in the Paris Region,  have been purchased with the support of the Interreg Programme and their implementation is one of the main deliverables of the RainGain project.
Underpass for cyclists at Delft Station was closed 
due to almost 0.5m of flood depth.
Firemen try to relieve flooding by installing emergency pumps at several locations in the Rotterdam region, where the fire brigade received hundreds of calls during the event.