Royal Haskoning looks for Azerbaijan flood solutions

Engineering consultancy Royal Haskoning and research institute Deltares are seeking solutions to help prevent the repeat of devastating floods experienced earlier this year in Azerbaijan.

The development follows the Azerbaijan government of Azerbaijan awarding a contract to Royal Haskoning as part of a cooperation initiative between the Netherlands and Azerbaijan that will see improvements to water management and flood protection measures.

Heavy rainfall during spring 2010, combined with a poor drainage system caused Azerbaijan’s rivers Araz and Kura to burst their banks, resulting in large areas of the country flooding, causing extensive damage. The rivers, which originate in the Caucasus mountains, converge and flow into the Caspian Sea. Used to irrigate a dry area of Azerbaijan, the area is not prone to flooding.

Resolving to implement structural measures to bring water management and flood protection measures up to standard, the Azerbaijan government has collaborated with the Netherlands to prevent flooding from recurring. As a result the Dutch water authority Rijkswaterstaat – including representatives from Royal Haskoning and Deltares, has led an investigation of the area. Royal Haskoning and Deltares are developing ideas for solutions in partnership with the Azerbaijan ministry for water. The development of an action plan for 2011 has begun to ensure the country is prepared for next spring.

A long-term programme that will examine all water management measures across the region is being developed in conjunction.

Tasks include analysis and recommendations for the technical system of rivers, dykes, dams and irrigation. A clear emphasis will also be placed on the transfer of knowledge and organisation.

The aim is for local parties to assume management of the system, which considered to be one of the most important factors for ensuring long-term success of the programme. The agreement anticipates that both organisations will be involved in the development of Azerbaijan’s flood management plans for the foreseeable future.

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