DANUBIUS-RI NLNetherlands Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems as part of DANUBIUS-RI


Prof.dr. Hans Middelkoop
Heidelberglaan 8, 3584 CS Utrecht
University Utrecht, Technical University Delft, Wageningen University, University Twente, IHE, Deltares, Rijkswaterstaat

With to date’s knowledge on sediment dynamics, we have reached the limits in achieving the objectives of European (WFD, MSFD, FD etc.) as well as global (SDGs) water-related policies. DANUBIUS-NL – with newly to-be-acquired and implemented research facilities – will facilitate and accelerate especially the knowledge development that we need to improve water policy making and sediment management to ‘future proof’ our Dutch rivers, deltas and coastal seas. This ensures that they remain safe, live able and reachable for our and next generations.
Now is the moment to invest in DANUBIUS-NL, as it will provide a unique contribution of the Dutch river, transition-zone and coastal-sea scientists to the International Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems (DANUBIUS-RI). DANUBIUS-RI is a distributed environmental research infrastructure on the 2016 ESFRI Roadmap, with 2022 and 2023 as envisaged starting dates for the implementation and operational phase, respectively.

DANUBIUS-NL, the proposed contribution to DANUBIUS-RI:
a) The Rhine-Meuse Delta Supersite (living-lab), with a focus on facilitation of research aimed at improved understanding and quantification of sediment dynamics and sustainable management of water and sediment across the river-sea continuum;
b) Contributions to the Italian-led Modelling Node, that aims to provide: common models for representing and analysis of river-sea systems; a laboratory for researchers; a common basis of regional and local studies (Supersites); the basis for socio-economic evaluations with stakeholders;
c) The Impact Node, which will facilitate knowledge development at the interface between natural and social sciences. It develops methodologies and tools to solve management problems in highly complex and dynamic river-sea systems, and transfers scientific output and practical tools to users, including those in the NL Rhine-Meuse Delta.
DANUBIUS-NL infrastructure will comprise:
1. Field monitoring facilities: The majority of infrastructure efforts is put in going beyond the state-of-art standards-driven practice towards long-term monitoring of sediment dynamics in the Rhine-Meuse Delta aimed at system understanding, at an unprecedented detailed spatial and temporal resolution to investigate in an interdisciplinary and coherent manner:
- Large-scale processes of supply, movement, storage, and transfer of sediments from source to sink at the delta scale and resulting changes in river morphology;
- Small-scale sediment-transport phenomena including particle entrainment, flocculation, and interactions at the fresh water–salt water interface;
- Intermediate-scale processes such as the exchange of sediment between the river channel and floodplain, and the associated morpho-dynamics of the channel bed.
In addition to targeted application of established methods, innovative observation techniques and equipment for the measurement of sediment fluxes will be developed.
Field observation facilities aim at extending the existing observation networks with additional, carefully chosen, long-term (>15 years) observation sites in the Dutch Rhine-Meuse Delta, i.e. the Dutch portions of the Rhine and Meuse rivers, their downstream distributaries and estuaries, and the Dutch coastal zone as far as the riverine influence is measurable and relevant. For this we need:
- In-situ observation equipment for high-frequency measurement of flow velocities, sediment concentrations/turbidity;
- Remote sensing platforms and equipment (air- and water-borne drones) for high-spatial-resolution measurements of water quality and sediment concentrations;
- Sampling equipment for collection of channel bed and suspended sediment, including equipment for passive sampling;
- Ship-time for targeted sampling and observation campaigns;
- Physical and chemical analyses of water and sediment samples.
2. Laboratory experimental facilities: Research that cannot be accomplished by field measurements, especially in studies that require a firmer control of boundary and initial conditions (e.g. studies on hydrological extremes or human interference) will be undertaken under laboratory conditions in existing flume facilities at the participating institutes. For this, we will continue to use, modify, and extend experimental facilities at Laboratory Fluid Mechanics (TUD), Kraijenhoff van de Leur Laboratory for Water and Sediment Dynamics (WUR), Metronome facility (UU), and the Physical Laboratory and Soil & Water Delta facilities (Deltares).
3. Modelling Node: The data collected also allows the parametrisation and calibration/validation data for ongoing development of numerical morphodynamic models of the river-sea continua. The data collected will be gathered, stored and made openly accessible via a data portal linked to the DANUBIUS-RI Data Centre and Modelling Node.
4. Impact Node: Use will be a.o. made of the Deltares iD-Lab. We will continue to use and develop the facility in DANUBIUS-NL.

Aansluiting bij strategische ontwikkelingen
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