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  • Writer's pictureEuropean Green Cities/Site Development

Resilient city construction -- Deltares

In 40 years from now, approximately 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. This strong urbanisation trend has an effect on the environment and intensifies pressure on natural resources. Growth will be particularly evident in cities in deltas, which will also face additional pressure as a result of climate change, land subsidence and sea-level rise. Cities worldwide are facing the challenge of becoming increasingly robust, resilient and sustainable. Urban stakeholders, both public and private, need a picture of the potential problems, effective solutions and action strategies.

Integrated solutions address several difficulties at the same time

Cities are increasingly having to cope with problems relating to safety, habitability, mobility, energy supplies, water supplies and health. These problems are interrelated; they affect and amplify one another. Integrated solutions are needed. That requires urban planning designs, approaches to structuring and techniques that resolve several difficulties at the same time, and ensure that cities are robust in the face of increasing pressure. To analyse the challenges and implement solutions, interdisciplinary knowledge and skills are necessary: an understanding of the soil and water system, socio-economic factors, infrastructure and governance, as well as appropriate solutions. Deltares has that knowledge, and we supply integrated solutions. The value can be seen in:

• Greater certainty and frameworks for action • Less vulnerability, more security and resilience • Less damage • More effective management and maintenance • More economical use of resources (energy, water, land, nutrients) • Beneficial use of resources • Sustainable use of new resources • Exploitation of nature-based solutions/ecosystem services • Improved (healthy, safe, pleasant) living environment

Deltares focuses in particular on

• The development and application of models for functions, risks and opportunities relating to the water and soil system • Support for planning and urban design (Water-Sensitive Urban Design) • Climate adaptation • Nature-based solutions and ecosystem services • Resource efficiency (water, nutrients, land surface, land elevation) • Flood risk management • Land subsidence • Urban water/groundwater and soil management • Water and soil energy • Health and the water and soil system • Prevention of disruption and damage (flooding, subsidence, foundations) • Governance and transition management.

Interaction between the physical system and urban functioning

In Deltares' projects, they analyse the interaction between the physical system and the way a city functions. They use this knowledge to develop and apply innovations that contribute to the quality of urban design, spatial planning, and the effectiveness of management and maintenance.


The Jumeirah Islands main lake system (JIL) comprises a series of 19 interconnected lakes on different levels (3-11m rel. to DMD), feb by Arabian Gulf water pumped to the lakes, then pumped to the highest point, circulating back to the lower levels and then discharged back to the ocean. The lake system is experiencing water quality problems.

Deltares provided recommendations for measures to improve the water quality conditions at JL lakes. The data collection activities carried out in the present project result in a sufficiently complete description of the JIL system. Deltares complied and reported information on the lake system layout and geometry, the lake hydrology, the lake circulation system and the lake water and sediment quality. Besides, Deltares also reviewed the existing design and water circulation system from the perspective of water quality, supported by data analysis, water and substance balances and numerical modelling.

Plan view of project site and other relevant locations

Source: Deltares

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