Causes and effects of the high water rise in the Western Scheldt estuary, the Netherlands
Arends, A.; Langerak, A. (1999). Causes and effects of the high water rise in the Western Scheldt estuary, the Netherlands, in: Proceedings of the 1999 34th MAFF Conference of River and Coastal Engineers.
The Western Scheldt estuary serves different purposes. These social, economic and environmental aspects sometimes seem to be in contradiction. In the past economic development (land reclamation's and channel enlargements) and social aspects (safety against flooding) were always treated separately however, safety had priority. Nowadays environmental aspects i.e. preservation of the estuary are also taken into account. The aim of the present management policy is to create an optimal situation for the social, economic and environmental demands in which safety against flooding has priority. Due to all these different interests the geometry of the Western Scheldt is highly determined by human interference as land reclamation and dredging activities. Due to these geometry changes, the mean high water level has increased over the last decades. At the Dutch-Belgian border, in the east of the estuary, an increase of 50 cm/century is observed, while the increase at the Dutch coast is only 25 cm/century. Besides the expected accelerated sea level rise more activities which will affect the water level are foreseen in future. Understanding the processes of high water rise is essential in view of securing the areas surrounding the Western Scheldt from flooding. At present, studies resulting in a better understanding of the mechanisms relating high water rise to changes in geometry, are carried out. This paper discusses the processes causing the high water rise and presents an overview of appropriate measures. Special attention is given to the effect of enlarging the storage area.