ARK Nature, Wereld Natuur Fonds (World Wildlife Fund), the Municipality of Rotterdam, Zuidhollands Landschap (South Holland Landscape Foundation), the Province of South Holland.
Rotterdam and its surroundings are susceptible to high water levels in the river. Floods can cause serious problems in this densely populated area. IJsselmonde offers a great deal of space for water storage. A 600-hectare facility is currently under consideration, for which several variants have been proposed. ARK, Zuidhollands Landschap and Wereld Natuur Fonds advocate the option that contributes most to making the region climate-proof and have concrete ideas about spatial planning and management.
Moreover, the project can be expanded by an additional 600 hectares. Here, too, space will have to be created to enable the land to grow with the sea. An attractive perspective has to be developed for these 1,200 hectares.The current 600-hectare project could be implemented within two to five years (start after 2010). Climate-proof spatial planning for the entire area (1,200 hectares) will be a longer-term focus.
The short-term water directive is restricted. According to the water board, only eight hectares of storage area is required to solve local flooding. A larger water-storing marshland can contribute significantly to the improvement of the local water quality, which causes major problems every year, particularly in the southern part of Rotterdam. By purifying marshes of many hundreds of hectares, a major contribution can be made in this respect.
With a further rise in the sea level and extreme water overflow from rivers, an additional surface area of the same size could be of paramount importance for storing peak water discharge in the region.
Opening up (parts of) the area to tidal freshwater - per polder, for example - will begin the silting process and natural raising of the land. This means that the ‘high’ polder will ultimately lose its water-storing function, but it will have become safe.
Apart from water storage and improvement of the local water quality, IJsselmonde is pre-eminently suited for numerous other purposes. This could include recreational activities, nature and agriculture, as well as housing construction.With a polder exchange system, the build-up of alluvial deposits can take place polder by polder, enabling a rotation of suitable purposes (nature, recreation, housing, greenhouses, etc.).
The solution of water problems can count on a great deal of support. That is not (yet) the case for the idea of letting the land grow with the sea. Two landowners - together good for some 310 hectares - want to collaborate in this project.
Part of the financing has already been secured. Housing construction has been considered, since it would generate additional funds and bring the project closer to realization.