Thursday, May 28, 2009

Delta Works

Author: Hong Ting (Sam) Chiu

We joined the Florida delegations for another field trips. The Delta Works was the primary topic for today. First of all, we visited the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier. Originally, it was designed to be a dam; however, after weighting on the environmental issues, the sluice-gate-type doors were then picked to be the final design. The view of Oosterschelde is as overwhelmed as the Maeslantkering.

The tour to the Oosterschelde.

Simple statics :)

The Oosterschelde.

The Oosterschelde.

The pile of Oosterschelde.
The thin red line is the water level during the 1953's disaster.
It was really high (4.2 meter about NAP).

The gate of Oosterschelde.

After that, we went to a few construction sites of the Zeeland's "weak links." The weak link is the area which the system no longer have the strength to stand up the requirement. Therefore, the government has to improve the current dikes and dunes for keeping its inhabitants safe. It seemed the dike was nothing when we were driving on it; however, when we stepped outside and looked at it, it was another story.

The dike.

The dike.

This beach was man-made.

Lastly, we ended our day with a dinner-presentation with Ms. Wilma Brouwer, member of the Water Board Zeeuwse Eilanden and responsible for International Affairs. She presented the structure and the function of the water board.

The dinner-presentation.

Ms. Wilma Brouwer from the Water Board Zeeuwse Eilanden.

Thank you speech from Mr. Stan Bronson (Florida Earth Foundation).

Thank you speech from Dr. Yeh (University of South Florida).

I have read about the history, the infrastructures, and the water defense systems of the Netherlands; however, this is the first time to see the real things. This two-day tour has enhanced and gone beyond the knowledge from the books and the articles. The first hand experience was just amazing, especially with these massive infrastructure. The Dutch has firmly held their "never again" belief and do whatever they can to prevent the disaster from happening. They look far ahead into future and don't doubt the bullets. In addition to their expertise on the water defense systems, we should also learn about their attitude and spirit.

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