21 May 2019

Additional government investment in climate adaptation

Utrecht University studies 5 residential areas that will be adapted to climate change with new funds

Gekleurde laarzen in ondergelopen gebied

Five residential areas in the Utrecht region will receive more than €800,000 in extra national money to protect them against the consequences of the changing climate: flooding, drought and land subsidence. Researchers from the Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law and the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University will study the changes in these residential areas and monitor the results.

The collaboration is the result of an invitation from engineering consultancy company Sweco and joint activities of Utrecht University's partners in project Skyscraper: the whale, made from plastic waste from the sea. The province of Utrecht and the water board Stichtse Rijnlanden are also involved in that project. The plastic whale now produces a continued cooperation in the field of sustainability.

Flooding, drought, land subsidence

There are five different types of neighbourhoods involved: the post-war flat district Overvecht in Utrecht, the '70's residential area Fokkesteeg in Nieuwegein, the new city centre of Houten, the historic centre of the village of Kockengen and the villa districts Erasmuslaan, Mooi Zeist and Parmentiersland in Zeist. These districts will be redesigned so that they can better absorb excess water and bear the consequences of subsidence and drought (as was the case last summer). Work is underway on solving urgent bottlenecks and also on producing visible results for climate adaptation.

Pilot projects for other regions of the Netherlands

Researchers of the Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law and the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University will monitor these projects, who are also considered pilot projects for the other regions in the Netherlands. Knowledge and experiences gained wil be shared at a local, regional and national level, and may be applied to similar problem areas. Fourteen municipalities, the province of Utrecht, the water board Hoogheemraadschap De Stichtse Rijnlanden and the Veiligheidsregio Utrecht have joined forces in the regional partnership 'Water and Climate', which has submitted the project proposal.

Millions of euros invested in climate adaption

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water) has allocated more than 800,000 euros of the available 5.2 million, to the Utrecht region. The municipalities of Meerssen and Groningen will also receive extra funds. There's more money on the way. This year and in 2020, the Minister will allocate a total of ten million euros to local and regional projects to encourage local governments to get on with climate change adaptation.