Researchers at Wageningen Environmental Research are going to work systematically with the Dutch water boards on water management in the Netherlands and elsewhere. The two parties signed an agreement on this collaboration on 18 October.
Bram de Vos (WUR) and Hein Pieper (Waterschap Rijn en IJssel). On the left minister Van Nieuwenhuizen and on the right rector Arthur Mol.
© Wageningen Unversity & Research
Through this collaboration, Wageningen researchers and students can participate in the ‘Blue Deal’ struck by the water boards and the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Infrastructure and Water Management. The Blue Deal covers long-term projects with partners around the globe to prevent flooding and supply people with sufficient safe drinking water. Efforts will be focused on 40 flood-prone regions around the world, with a total population of 20 million people.
‘The water boards invited us to join in,’ says Ivo Demmers, the Sustainable Water Management programme leader at WUR. He believes they did so because of WUR’s broad perspective on water-related issues, looking not just at technological solutions but also at the social and ecological aspects. It cuts both ways, says Demmers. ‘How can we pass on our knowledge about water effectively and thus be of help? And also: how can we learn from experience overseas so as to prepare ourselves for the future?’
According to Demmers, there is already regular collaboration with water boards. ‘What is new is that the collaboration is now systematic and that we are setting up a joint programme.’ For Wageningen researchers and students, this will mean new internship opportunities and PhD places.