Expert of the Week   for  09 - 15 Nov 2015

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Nanco Dolman

Part-time Lecturer of Adaptive Urban Development

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences Expertise:  As one of the Dutch front runners in Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), Nanco is specialized in bridging water resilient design and engineering in making cities less vulnerable to water extremes, urban heat, degrading environments and ongoing population growth.

Nanco Dolman is Leading Professional Water Resilience in Urban Areas at Royal HaskoningDHV and has a Masters of Science, Civil Engineering from Delft University of Technology (1998) and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, majoring in Landscape Design from Amsterdam Academy of Architecture (2008). Nanco is also part time lecturer Adaptive Urban Development at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Nanco is involved in adaptation strategies for delta cities, like the ‘Bangkok Adaptive City 2045’ (Chao Phraya River, Thailand), the ‘Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy’ (Meuse River, the Netherlands), the ‘Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan’ (Mississippi River, USA)” and in the ‘Comprehensive Urban Water Strategy for Hoboken’ (Hudson River, USA). And since 1998, Nanco is the strategic advisor of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for airport water management, water assessment and other water challenges related to airport planning.

Towards water resilient cities – coping with climate change, urban densification and water management.

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QQuestion by Ms Suzette Schreuder

Dear Nanco, you are writing that areas are not only vulnerable to floods and heavy rain, but often have to deal with drought, heat, erosion and subsidence of the soil as well. You also mention the decline of natural resources. My question to you is: please share some inspiring examples of water resilient cities that are implementing natural resources initiatives.

Ms Suzette Schreuder Press Officer | Royal HaskoningDHV
Netherlands, the

APosted on 16 Nov 2015

Dear Ms Suzette Schreuder,

Thank you for your question.

Coping with the decline of natural resources, like water scarcity, is a vital challenge of Making Cities Water Resilient. As addressed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), solutions imply raising resilience to national water security (Asian Water Development Outlook 2013) in following key dimensions:

  • Household – supply of drinking water,
  • Economic – fresh water supply for food production,
  • Water-related disasters – recharge groundwater to limit ground subsidence.

Connecting thread is the implementation of dynamic water resource management in the built environment. This is an attractive ambition and is further justified by the 1st pillar of the Water Sensitive City framework: building flexibility and adaptability in our water sources - “Cities as Water Supply Catchments”.

This means achieving self-sufficiency of cities by considering the re-use of supplied (potable) water and the use of alternative water sources to limit groundwater extractions. At the same time many cities are sensitive to ground subsidence because of large scale groundwater extractions. Among these so-called “sinking cities” are the urban dense areas of Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Mexico City, Manila and West Netherlands. In the 1970s the Japanese managed to slow down and even stop the Tokyo subsidence rate. This was only possible through an extreme decision: by ending ground water extractions and transferring to other water sources, like: rain, sea and surface water.

Especially rainwater harvesting & use on a large scale is recognized as potential opportunity to deal with water scarcity and achieve self-sufficiency and more regenerative cities of tomorrow. Front-runner examples in urban dense areas are found in Japan (building scale), Australia (building and district scale) and Singapore (city scale).

Kind regards, Nanco Dolman