BE FRAMES-day: Multi-layered water safety in the Dender basin

20 June 2018 - Published by Sander Linssen
Last month, FRAMES partners and Belgian stakeholders got to see first hand how flooding is a great risk in the Dender region, a river in the basin of the Scheldt. The Belgian FRAMES-partners, the province of East Flanders and the Ghent-University hosted a series informative and interactive Frames-days on May 17-19 in Aalst highlighting the key issues and solutions in the Dender-pilot to all involved

Over the course of the FRAMES-days activity, all involved recognised  that there are much similarities between the Dender pilot in Flanders and other pilots. The have identified opportunities to share information and experiences and help each other to make progress in the knowledge and approach of multi-layered water safety.


On the FRAMES-days, there were workshops on issues related to flood risk management in the Dender basin, flood risk awareness and engagement among Flemish citizens and the spatial challenge of companies in flood-prone areas along the Dender. Also the FRAMES partners undertook two field tours imersing themselves in the challenges of the Dender basin by boat and bike.


The Dender in balance

People slowly get more attentive of the potential of the Dender valley. Key strategic projects in the Dender Region put emphasis on re-establishing the lost connection between the built environment and the river. By linking up spatial planning, energy transition, tourism and an increased flood safety, the wish is to bring the Dender back in balance. In this context, the Flemish Waterways (i.e. water manager of the Dender), the Department of Spatial Planning of the Flemish government and the Province of East-Flanders are developing the plan “Space for Water. Building towards a Dender in balance”. This plan aims to decrease flood risks through a mix of prevention, protection and preparedness measures.  The plan also tries to actively create additional value for other spatial claims in the valley (e.g. nature development, cultural heritage, etc.).


Most of the measures that are considered in the “Space for Water”-plan are to be carried out by authorities.Yet, to maximise flood risk reduction, private action is necessary. In Flanders, citizen involvement in flood risk management is a policy that has barely been explored. This means that shifting responsibilities to private actors is not self-evident.. Therefore, the Belgian FRAMES-partners investigate the possible roles that citizens and companies can take up in multi-layered water safety and what type of governmental support they need to do so.


FRAMES pilot cases are being carried out by the Province of East-Flanders and Ghent University in Ninove and Denderleeuw. In each of these municipalities, local community engagement sessions are being organised. In these sessions, a variety of possible individual and community-based flood risk actions are presented and discussed. The partners pursue a balanced combination of actions that do not only benefit flood resilience, but also the general spatial quality of the district.


From Ath to Dendermonde

The Dender is a river in Belgium in the basin of the Scheldt. It flows through the provinces of Hainaut, East Flanders and Flemish Brabant over a length of 65 km. The Dender origins in Ath (height approx. 40m) by confluence of the Eastern Dender (source on the border between Masnuy-Saint-Jean and Masnuy-Saint-Pierre) and the Western or Small Dender (source at Barry) and mouths in Dendermonde on the right bank in the Scheldt.