The Netherlands, always vulnerable to floods, has a new approach to water management


Public Radio International (PRI) has the article The Netherlands, always vulnerable to floods, has a new approach to water management.

Ten years ago, the Netherlands developed the concept of “room for the rivers,” which Zevenbergen calls a “paradigm shift.” “The room for the rivers concept is a turning point in our approach,” he explains.

One of the difficulties that many countries face is in financing projects.

As always, funding massive projects presents challenges, even when the stakes are so high. Recently, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a conference which directly addressed how to engage the finance sector and the water sector.

The World Bank estimates that investing a dollar in flood protection saves $7 to $10 in flood damage, but, “for some reason,” Zevenbergen says, “there is an investment gap. … The money cannot find the projects, and the projects cannot find the money.”

A country like the USA that is sovereign in its own currency and has little debt that is not denominated in that currency does not face these financing problems. We have much greater leeway to create the money necessary to finance these projects.

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