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Influence of a Storm Surge Barrier’s Operation on the Flood Frequency in the Rhine Delta Area

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Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, Delft 2628 CN, The Netherlands
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Department of Water Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, Delft 2628 CN, The Netherlands
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2012, 4(2), 474-493; https://doi.org/10.3390/w4020474
Received: 9 April 2012 / Revised: 2 May 2012 / Accepted: 4 May 2012 / Published: 11 May 2012
The Rhine River Delta is crucial to the Dutch economy. The Maeslant barrier was built in 1997 to protect the Rhine estuary, with the city and port of Rotterdam, from storm surges. This research takes a simple approach to quantify the influence of the Maeslant storm surge barrier on design water levels behind the barrier. The dikes in the area are supposed to be able to withstand these levels. Equal Level Curves approach is used to calculate the Rotterdam water levels by using Rhine discharges and sea water levels as input. Their joint probability function generates the occurrence frequency of a certain combination that will lead to a certain high water level in Rotterdam. The results show that the flood frequency in Rotterdam is reduced effectively with the controlled barrier in current and in future scenarios influenced by climate change. In addition, an investigation of the sensitivity of the operational parameters suggests that there is a negligible influence on the high water level frequency when the decision closing water level for the barrier is set higher due to the benefits of navigation (but not exceeding the design safety level 4 m MSL). View Full-Text
Keywords: Rhine-Meuse delta; flood frequency; storm surge barriers; equal level curves; joint probability method; sensitivity analysis Rhine-Meuse delta; flood frequency; storm surge barriers; equal level curves; joint probability method; sensitivity analysis
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Zhong, H.; Van Overloop, P.-J.; Van Gelder, P.; Rijcken, T. Influence of a Storm Surge Barrier’s Operation on the Flood Frequency in the Rhine Delta Area. Water 2012, 4, 474-493.

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