BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Governor John Bel Edwards and other statewide leaders visit the Netherlands for a preview of their Flood Control Infrastructure Project.

According to the governor’s office, Gov. Edwards and other Louisiana leaders switched the agenda for water management from Amsterdam to France on Tuesday. Edwards’ office said the tour begins with a tour of the Noorwaard depoldering project in Werkendam. Polders are riverfront areas that were once underwater and then turned dry. This project was a vital piece of the water management project that started in 2006 to protect communities along the Rhine River.

“This mission is a powerful reminder that Louisiana residents are kindred spirits with the Dutch, who have embraced creative solutions for living with, rather than fighting against, water for generations,” Gov. Edwards said. “The Noorwaard depoldering resembles similar projects within Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan. To view in person the positive impact of this years-long undertaking reaffirms our state’s visionary, long-term approach to the water challenges we face. How to apply the lessons of Room for the River to our own coastal programs will be a focus of follow-up discussions today and in the days to come.”

A Dutch specialist in water resource management, Dr. Franz Klijn, informed the delegation of Room for the River, which has made new dikes, bridges, hydraulic structures, and pumping stations at 34 stations across the country.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from a group of people fighting some of the same challenges we face every day, but it’s also a chance for other countries to learn from the significant progress we have made over the last several years,” CPRA Chairman Chip Kline said. “While the Dutch are known internationally for living with and managing water, Louisiana is being looked at more and more as a global leader in addressing and reacting to a changing climate.” 

The governor’s office said after visiting Noorwaard, representatives traveled to Kinderdijk to view the windmill and steam-powered pumping station that was innovated in the nineteenth century before traveling to Deltares, which holds the leading non-profit for water management and research institution. At Deltares, Gov. Edwards met with Netherlands Water Envoy Henk WJ Ovink to discuss a future water management partnership between Louisiana and the Netherlands, after viewing a demonstration of the most advanced wave test facility in the world.

“We had a frank exchange of ideas and discussed the challenges facing both Louisiana and the Netherlands,” Deltares Director of Hydraulic Engineering Dirk-Jan Walstra said. “As low-lying deltas, climate change and sea level rise have a huge impact on our regions. We were also proud to show Governor Edwards and the delegation of the Deltares experimental facilities, including the Delta Flume, and stressed the importance of using these facilities alongside our software to provide sound knowledge-based advice for policy makers. We hope that we can continue to share knowledge and expertise together, learning from each other as we deepen our collaboration with The Water Institute.”