Romania has its own ‘Delft designed’ field lab for testing and developing innovations that can protect the country against the effects of climate change. Flood Proof Romania was officially opened last Friday in the presence of the Romanian director-general Olimpia Negru (Ministry of Water & Forestry) and Marjan Kreijns, programme manager of VPdelta. The new testing ground offers opportunities for Dutch startups in the water sector.
Flood Proof Romania is a copy of Flood Proof Holland, the testing ground for temporary flood defenses on the TU Delft Campus. The Romanian variant is an expanded version: the basins are larger, steeper and deeper, which makes other types of tests possible. Both field labs will therefore work closely together in the area of research and innovation in the coming five years.
“Our Romanian partners have visited Flood Proof Holland a number of times in recent years,” says Kreijns about the realisation of the project. Romania has large rivers, including the Danube, and many floods. This year the country already suffered from one. “Romania can make good use of its own test polder to develop and test technical innovations and temporary emergency measures.”
Not only has Romania been inspired by the physical design of Flood Proof Holland, but the institutional design is also Dutch. This means that a university (Technical University of Civil Engineering or Bucharest), government agencies (ANAR, the Romanian Rijkswaterstaat) and innovative entrepreneurs are involved in the project.
“It is of course a great honour that our field lab from Delft has now been recreated in Romania,” says Kreijns. “It shows once again that this topic is becoming increasingly urgent and important and that there is a greater need for research in the field of water management, innovations and the use of testing grounds.”
Flood Proof Romania was realised thanks to BRIGAID, a European programme aimed at developing innovations that can cope with the effects of climate change (floods, droughts and extreme weather). Delft University of Technology and TU Bucharest are important partners in BRIGAID. The programme is led by professor of Integral Hydraulic Engineering Bas Jonkman, who was also present at the opening.
During the opening of Flood Proof Romania there were demonstrations of four Dutch startups who have already proven themselves at Flood Proof Holland: Boxbarrier, Tubebarrier, Green Soil Bag and Slurpzak. All four of them develop temporary flood defenses, varying from a ‘sandbag without sand’ that inflates itself to a temporary dam that can also be easily set up in urban areas.
The new test facility also offers opportunities for these innovative companies. “The field lab is larger, which means that they can also test their products in more extreme circumstances,” says Kreijns. This will probably lead to new applications. In addition, they get easy access to the Romanian market through Flood Proof Romania and BRIGAID. “The Dutch are good at water management, entrepreneurship and innovation. This is coming together in a wonderful way in this project. ”