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Restored Flooding for Living Deltas

Introduction

Photo credit: NASA

Key motivation to set up this project, part of the Utrecht University Pathways to Sustainability Programme, is the apparent global interest in controlled restored flooding in several of the world’s major deltas. Whereas full flood protection was, and in many deltas is, the dominant approach to dealing with high water, in a growing number of cases, controlled flooding is being practiced. This means that flood dynamics are being restored on previously enclosed delta lands. Policy objectives range from providing regional flood safety by spreading out flood water, to the intake of fresh nutrients and sediment (land accretion) and nature restoration. In the Restored Flooding project, knowledge and insights regarding this topic are collected, based on four detailed case studies located in the Dutch, Bangladesh, Vietnamese Mekong, and Sacramento-San Joaquin (US) delta.

We gather existing knowledge presented in studies and reports to come up with a thorough interdisciplinary analysis of key drivers or motivations to restore flood dynamics. We will focus on understanding environmental, institutional and technical drivers of rationalizing and acting upon such intervention in these deltas.

During an international seminar on 26 May 2021 we discuss preliminary findings with researchers, policy makers and practitioners active in the four deltas.