The largest evacuation ever in the Netherlands due to flood risk is 25 years ago this winter. 250,000 people had to leave their homes in river areas due to the dangerous high water levels of the Rhine, Maas and Waal. Several water researchers at Utrecht University have personal memories of this. They reminisce on those days and look into the future. Are we ready for more rising water?
“Extremely hectic days, you can hardly imagine it now without cell phones and the internet, the most modern means of communication being the fax machine”, says Herman Havekes, Professor by Special Appointment: Public organisation of (decentralised) water management at Utrecht University. On January 31, the water level at Lobith reached a record height of 16.63 meters above sea level. Back than, Havekes worked (and is still working) at the Dutch Union of regional Water Authorities.