Project budget6 499 430 €
ERDF amount3 899 658 €
Climate change is affecting countries in the 2 Seas area faster and more extreme than previously expected. The common challenge is to pro-actively prepare all 2 Seas stakeholders to climate change challenges. They need to embed the potential impact of flooding in their plans, on a strategic, tactical and operational level. The biggest challenge is that stakeholders do not know exactly how strong the flood defences are and how well emergency response is organized in practice. Most scenarios and decision support systems are based on theoretical models. Another challenge is to raise awareness among the general public and stakeholders that no guarantee can be given for a full-proof flood defence. Stakeholders in the 2 Seas countries need to test the viability of current and future proof flood resilience and emergency response approaches in practice. De-poldering of Hedwige- and Prosperpolder offers a unique 6 km2 living lab to validate flood defence and emergency response practices.
The overall objective is to improve the 2 Seas regions’ capacity to adapt to climate change through increased flood resilience and emergency response, based on the demands of stakeholders and aimed at a strong overall societal embedding.
To support the development of strategies, organizational and operational plans by all stakeholders by
- Improving practical knowledge base: to test, validate and demonstrate flood defense infrastructures and emergency response techniques and methods
- offering a platform for knowledge and expertise exchange
- educating and train young water professionals
- improving collaboration between relevant stakeholders
- exploiting the unique opportunity the Hedwige/Prosper polder poses maximaly
It aims for optimal utilization of the Hedwige-Prosperpolder living lab. It will act as a facilitator to develop adequate climate change response strategies and knowledge exchange. The experiences in other INTERREG and other EU projects will be embedded.
- Number of Strategies and action plans: 2
- 1 action plan for international collaboration in emergency response
- 1 action plan for international collaboration on assessing, designing and maintaining flood defences
- Number of solutions/tools/services: 13
- 4 updated curricula flood resilience education, both technical, organisational and strategic
- 6 validated innovative solutions/tools/services from test beds in the Hedwige Prosperpolder Living Lab on:
- controlled levee breaching
- water overtopping
- breach control
- water overflow
- inspection training/app
- breach growth
- 1 updated flood defense tool box by practical validated insights
- 1 updated emergency response tool box
- 1 full scale international emergency response exercise
- Number of small-scale e-infrastructures / equipments: 1
- 1 field station as a base camp for researchers during and after the project and as a location for Summer school activities.
Cross border approach
Cross-border collaboration between the 2 Seas countries is necessary for effective and efficient knowledge exchange and capacity building for flood prevention. The operational knowledge on climate resilience varies between the 2 Seas regions and their various approaches to climate change effects lead to significant added value in this project. The Netherlands and Belgium primarily focus on flood defense. In England and France the focus is on emergency response.
It is essential to join forces and share experiences on flood management and learn from each other. The Living Lab provides unique learning and investment opportunities and should be shared interregional . This project will include a large variety of stakeholders from the 2 Seas area.
A cross-border approach will make the 2Seas area better prepared to the challenges climate change poses. It is essential to develop and exchange knowledge on dike strength, technological innovations, emergency response and practical experiences.
Polder2Cs had an energetic start. Despite COVID related restrictions, partners have enthusiastically and actively contributed towards the various activities which resulted in a living lab. Once it was operational, several activities were organised, ranging from survey and training to testing and exercising. Autumn 2020 a first set of experiments have been performed. For interested people (both professionals and general public), we made close connection to the experiments possible by regular vlogging, inspiring news letters and last but not least a live stream which was accessible for anybody.
We also were able to perform emergency exercises, also using the newly developed inspection app called App2c. Especially the damage caused by overflow experiments provided unexpected opportunities to cooperate on elaboration and actual implementation of repair measures.
We have organised a Winter School for March 2021 and a levee challenge for teams of students in Spring 2021. Both events have attracted a lot of students that want to be involved. Also there is interest from young professionals, the project is considering if this would be an option as well. Regarding the curricula we are proud to have already a couple of master and PhD students working on subjects on levee safety and emergency response. Students are very enthousiastic to visit the living lab.
Partners were able to build cooperation and mutual trust by regular partner meetings via Teams and ZOOM. Also the social event that was organised in a digital way was highly appreciated as getting to know each other and knowing about the way other institutions work is also a main goal of being involved in an Interreg project.
A specific highlight of the project was the visit the Dutch Delta commissioner and the Secretary General of the Flemish ministry paid to the living lab in October. A creative solution, using large military tents to host the estimated guests, was found on the Dutch/ Belgian border to meet COVID proof and to share project progress.
We were able to actively engage observers from France, Belgium and The Netherlands by organising digital observer meetings per country. In these meetings also other interested organisations participated, made enthusiastic by the official observer partners. This resulted in a very positive response and even offers for additional support by providing high capacity pumps and staff for exercises. In the UK observers have been informed by mail and phone.