Room for the River: Nijmegen dike relocation, Netherlands

National Id
Site name
This example is one of many schemes being implemented through the national 'Room for the River' programme in the Netherlands. This particular measure involves setting back the dyke of the River Waal, and incorporating a new channel in to the expanded area of floodplain that can take additional flood flow from the Waal. The measures are also incorporated with a new area of urban development and will create an urban river park within the city of Nijmegen.
The in-depth description of the case study
RBD code
Data provider
Heather Williams and Dilian Jansen, AMEC
NWRM(s) implemented in the case study
Climate zone
cool temperate moist
Mean annual rainfall
600 - 900 mm
Mean rainfall unit
Case Study Info
Light or indepth?
Performance impact estimation method
Performance impact estimation information
Monitoring is carried out of river flows in the Waal. The measure has been modelled prior to implementation, consistently with all schemes in the Room for the River programme: this has allowed the performance of the whole Room for the River programme to be assessed, not only this individual scheme.
Application scale
Installation date
Performance timescale
< 1 year
This type of measure is suitable for rivers with permanent flow where the capacity to flow out-of-bank is currently restricted. There are no specific basin characteristics that are necessary, as the measures could be applied in a range of situations.
Favourable preconditions
The availability of open space in between the current river bank and the town. The sharp meander in the river provided a suitable geometry for addition of this type of measure
Public consultation
Design contractual arrangement
Arrangement type Responsibility Role Comments Name
Design consultation activity
Activity stage Key issues Name Comments
Extensive public communication for the national programme as a whole, as well as locally for this specific measure
Design land use change
Land use change type
Design authority
Authority type Role Responsibility Name Comments
National water authority
Gemeente Nijmegen
Direct overall project responsibility
Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu
Involved directly in planning and execution of infrastructural changes
Determination of design details of the measure
Involved in the planning and development of recreational and nature aspects on the future island
Key lessons
The ability to have an influence at a large scale, particularly in the lower reaches of a major river basin, requires commitment at high levels of government. This is the case with the Room for the River programme.

The integration of this particular scheme in to a wider programme with an overall goal ensures that individual measures do not adversely affect flood vulnerability in down- or upstream locations or in other river basins, and that the combination of individual measures leads to a cumulative, quantifiable positive effect on flood risk.
Success factor(s)
Success factor type Success factor role Comments
Attitude of decision makers
main factor
Financing possibilities
main factor
Financing type Comments
National funds
Funded by the national government
Barrier type Barrier role Comments
Attitude of relevant stakeholders
main barrier
Attitude of people who owned, farmed or lived on the land that is being used for the scheme
Driver type Driver role Comments
Past flooding events
main driver
Flooding events in 1993 and 1995 led to the development of the national Room for the River programme
Organisation committed to it
main driver
The national government decided on this approach and has led and funded its implementation
Financing share
Financing share type Share Comments
Policy description
Addressing the risk of flooding from the River Waal, particularly following flooding events in 1993 and 1995. This is part of a national programme of work by the national government to make 'Room for the River'.
Part of wider plan
Policy target
Target purpose
Peak-flow reduction
Increase Water Storage
Oher Societal Benefits
Policy pressure
Pressure directive Relevant pressure
Policy area
Policy area type Policy area focus Name Comments
Policy impact
Impact directive Relevant impact
Policy wider plan
Wider plan type Wider plan focus Name Comments
Room for the River programme
National strategy to create more space for flooding, rather than raising dykes further, initiated following widespread flooding in 1993 and 1995
FloodResilienCity (FRC)
INTERREG IVB programme enabling public authorities in eight cities in North West Europe to better cope with urban flooding. Nijmegen is one of the eight cities
Policy requirement directive
Requirement directive Specification
Costs investment
Compensations annual information
Compensation is required to owners and occupiers of the land that will be used for the measures, who will be displaced.
Information on Ecosystem improved biodiversity
Provision of increased aquatic and riparian habitat along the edges of the new channel
Ecosystem impact climate regulation
No specific impact
Information on Peak flow rate reduction
The measure provides a 35 cm reduction in design flood peak height on the River Waal.
Information on Increased groundwater level
Groundwater levels can already be high in this area, causing groundwater seepage. It was a specific aim of the project to ensure that groundwater seepage did not increase.
Water quality overall improvements
Not relevant for this application
Soil quality overall soil improvements
Not relevant for this application
Information on Effect delaying peak
In addition to reducing peak height, the measure is also likely to delay the peak, although no quantification was available


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