As a Delta city Rotterdam will face several climate change effects like heat stress, intensifying rainfall, sea level rise. Proactively, the city turned over these possible threads towards opportunities to counteract climate change and - in the meantime - enhancing the quality of city life and improving the economical prospects of the city. Rotterdam will be climate proof!
A combination of climate change and socio-economic scenario’s were used to predict impacts and develop strategic measures
Rotterdam is one of the largest cities in the Netherlands and harbours the largest port of Europe. An ingenious and robust flood protection system currently keeps the city and its port safe and dry. Climate projections indicate that the city of Rotterdam will experience sea level rise, heavier rainfall, drought and a changing river runoff. Combined climate change and socio-economic scenario’s were used to predict impacts and investigate possible measures. Scenario-analysis revealed an increase in flood risk towards the year 2100, both in the embanked and unembanked (floodplain) area. A strategy had been developed to withstand threads and to make use of the opportunities of climate change.
Through climate change adaptation the city of Rotterdam can improve its social and ecological value
Adapting to climate change goes hand in hand with strengthening the economy of the city and improving the environment. Climate change adaptation also provides opportunities to contribute to creating an involved and caring society and to improve the ecological value of the city. This is the core of the Rotterdam Climate Change Adaptation Strategy:
• We maintain and optimise the existing robust system.
• We improve its resilience by taking adaptive measures throughout the whole urban environment.
• We do this together with other parties and in combination (linking in) with other changes in the city.
• We take advantage of the opportunities that climate change adaptation provides.
Enhancing collaboration between different stakeholders within the city it is key to develop integral and adaptive measures
In order to keep Rotterdam safe, the current flood protection system will be reinforced. The current storm surge barriers can withstand the sea level rise for a great deal and postpone the need for building new or other large infrastructural measures. No regret measures are taken first: existing dikes will be reinforced, flood hazards plans will be upgraded. New developments in the unembanked area will be implemented adaptively. Whenever it is possible, the measures will contribute to a greener and healthier environment for civilians and a stronger economy for companies. To achieve this, collaboration is needed between city departments, waterboards, Province, National government, knowledge institutes and the inhabitants and companies within the city.
Taking action and working with a bottom-up as well as a top-down approach.
The Rotterdam climate proof strategy is implemented in several ways. New instruments and policies are developed if current ones are not suitable. Be aware of changing governance and responsibilities. Extra budget is allocated towards current policies that are already in line with the strategy. Take action now and deal with uncertainties. Fear no mistakes; start pilot projects to explore possibilities. Involve civilians when engaging local (street) projects. Work top down and bottom up at the same time. Always address benefits in terms of upgrading environment or improvement of the economy. Work proactively, integral, and enthusiastically! Exploit your success.