Sustainable Development of the Dutch Coast: Present and Future

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Abstract

GIARDINO, A., MULDER, J., DE RONDE, J and STRONKHORST, J., 2011. Sustainable Development of the Dutch Coast: Present and Future. In: Micallef, A. (ed.), MCRR3-2010 Conference Proceedings, Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 61, pp. 166-172 Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy, ISSN 0749-0208.

The Netherlands is a low-lying country, where approximately 27 percent of the territory is located below mean sea level and 55 percent is prone to flooding. Protection against flooding is traditionally the primary objective of coastal policy in the Netherlands. However, since 1990 coastal policy has been subject to a number of modifications, and new objectives have been added to cope with the structural erosion problems of the Dutch coast. To fulfil these new objectives, the yearly volumes of sand for nourishment have been constantly increasing. Even higher volumes will be necessary in the future due to more severe sea level rise scenarios predicted.

In this paper, sand volumes in the coastal area were analysed in combination with numerical modelling results of the sediment transport along the entire coast, to assess the effectiveness of the current nourishment policy, in the short and long term. One reference scenario of the current situation and one long-term prediction, including nourishment and sea level rise, were simulated. The results of this analysis show that nourishment has been successful in coping with the past erosion problems. Furthermore, sand volumes in the upper shoreface are now increasing, creating an additional buffer of sand, which might be needed in the future, as shown by the future scenario.

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