As the climate changes, the rivers will have to process more water. This has consequences for water and dikes: action around these rivers is therefore urgently needed. The government has started the Dutch Room for the River Programme to enhance the safety in the river region. ‘Room for the Lek’ is one of the projects of this Programme in the province of Utrecht.
How to give the Lek more room
The floodplains of the Lek at Nieuwegein and Vianen are redesigned so that the river can handle the increasing amount of water. To give the Lek more room, channels north and south of the Lek will be constructed. Also other measures will be put in place. These measures bring down the water level at times of elevated water levels and this will keep our feet dry. Under normal conditions, the water level remains the same.
Improving environmental quality
Additionally, the overall environmental quality of the river region will be improved: new areas for nature will be created. Extra walking and cycling routes will make the area more attractive for hikers and cyclists. Also, the historic ports of Vianen will be restored and Nieuwegein will create special natural areas for children to play in.
What is the role of the province?
The province of Utrecht has designed the plan for the modifications of the Lek region. The relevant municipalities and the Water Board participated intensively in this process. Also, the local residents and other interested parties have been consulted a regular basis. In mid 2011, the province completed the plan and in August 2011, the State Secretary agreed to go ahead.
Implementation by Ministry
The implementation lies in the hands of the executive arm of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Rijkswaterstaat. However, the province is still closely involved in the project: Provincial executive member Ralph de Vries is chairman of the Steering Committee, the province invests about 6 million euro in nature and recreation, and moreover, the province is responsible for a number of permits and the provincial development plan.