About 300 people, including representatives from 19 embassies and many different nationalities, attended the FloodProof Holland event, organized in a typical Dutch polder by Delft University of Technology, the Dutch military and a number of companies. This shows that the issue of flooding is still very much on the agenda (and that the Delft people know how to promote themselves). Your correspondent learned all about the "Tube Barrier", the "Green Soil Bag", the "SlamDam", the "BoxBarrier", the "GeoWall" and other innovative solutions for flood protection. Most of these are improvements on the traditional sandbags that provide cheaper, easier and more effective alternatives, as was shown in spectacular fashion in the test facility. That the solutions can be applied locally is especially interesting: a restaurant close to the river Meuse was flooded several times and is now protected with (I believe) the Tube Barrier. Individual farmers can afford to protect their valuable land better; a simple geospatial analysis generally suffices to determine the best location. At the watershed or floodplain scale weak spots can be identified to apply the new technology and geospatial also plays a role there; I overheard a Dutch river engineering veteran say: "first we do the analysis with satellite images".
If you are interested, visit http://floodproofholland.nl.