Pilot programmes and experiments help to plan and execute sand nourishment better
Dunes are vitally important for the protection of the low-lying areas of the Netherlands near the sea. The sand in the coastal zone is also enormously valuable for nature and leisure activities. That is why the Netherlands has been maintaining its coastline structurally using sand nourishment since 1990. Sand nourishment is all about sediment levels. Is there enough sand in the dunes that serve as flood defences? In the beach zone? And in the Dutch coastal zone as a whole? Time after time, this strategy has received positive assessments. By comparison with the use of hard structures, it achieves policy objectives at relatively low cost and with relatively limited negative effects. The sand brought in during the nourishment operations is spread by the wind and sea, enhancing the natural character of the coastal zone.
As a result, the Netherlands has built up a tradition of investing in knowledge about the coast and the effects of sand nourishment. With Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares is responsible for building up that knowledge base. As the management authority, Rijkswaterstaat is ultimately responsible for the application of the knowledge.