Synergy between urban development and increasing river discharges


Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, Rijkswaterstaat


Waterboard Rivierenland; Municipality of Nijmegen, Province of Gelderland

Problem Statement

Find synergy between space for future extreme river discharge and present need for urban development

Case Study

As a consequence of climate change more extreme river floods are expected. This requires an increase of the river discharge capacity. In the city of Nijmegen in 2000 an urban development plan started in the protected inner river bend that could compromise future expansion of the flood conveyance area. Different options to combine urban development with measures to increase the discharge capacity were studied, like making an inland bypass channel, raising the dike, excavating the present river bed and backward dike realignment. The last option was selected, because it was the most preferred option to combine flood risk reduction, and urban development, recognizing navigation demands, costs, local impact and robustness for the future.

Key Concepts

By the backward dike realignment future increase in extreme river discharges can be accommodated.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned

A joint effort of involved authorities and stakeholders from the early start by a process of “joint fact finding” improved the quality of decision making and acceptance of the proposed solution. It favoured the development of a multifunctional design in which flood protection, urban development, recreation and landscape are combined. And it increased the commitment of parties that might otherwise oppose.


Climate change, river floods, urban development, synergy, joint fact finding


The Netherlands


Local inhabitants

About the Knowledge Platform

The Knowledge Platform is designed to promote and showcase an emerging set of approaches to water resources management that address climate change and other uncertainties — increasing the use of "bottom-up approaches" through building capacity towards implementation, informing relevant parties, engaging in discussion, and creating new networks. This is an ongoing project of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) funded by the World Bank Group.

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