Delta Works

From Academic Kids

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Deltawerke-Oosterschelde-Sturmflutwehr_Straße.jpg

In the North Sea Flood of 1953 a break in the dikes and seawalls in the Netherlands killed 1,835 people and forced the evacuation of 70,000 more. Ten thousand animals drowned, and 4,500 buildings were destroyed. To prevent such a tragedy from happening again, an ambitious flood defense system was conceived and deployed, called the Delta Works (Dutch: Deltawerken).

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RMSDeltaSouth.jpg
Satellite image of the Schelde delta
This project was intended to improve the safety of the lower areas of the Netherlands against severe storms and flooding; since more than one third of the nation's land lies below sea level, this is no simple task. Dunes along the entire seashore were raised by as much as 5 meters, while the islands in Zeeland province were joined together by dams and other large scale constructions to shorten the coastline. The most sophisticated and famous of these dams is the Oosterscheldekering (left of the leftmost "i" on the satellite image), which can be opened and closed to keep the sea at bay while preserving the saltwater river delta for wildlife and the fishing industry.

The Oosterscheldekering is sometimes referred to as the eighth Wonder of the World, and has been declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.


However, there is an ongoing fundamental discussion about the basics of the Delta Works: the mainland is subsiding and due to global warming and climate changes, sea levels are rising. Eventually the dikes will have to be made higher and wider, causing even more local subsidence. This is a long term uphill battle against the sea that cannot be won. Some people argue that relocation of population centres and giving up land to the sea would be a longer lasting solution than to 'fight the sea'.

External Links

http://www.deltawerken.com/ English website about the DeltaWorks. Includes many photos, videos, etc.

See also

Template:Commons

ca:Pla Delta de:Deltawerke fr:Plan Delta nl:Deltawerken

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