Jonathan van Ekris

“I am looking at water safety challenges from a broader perspective”

“After completing my bachelor’s degree Land and Water Management at VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL), I felt that there was more to learn about the mechanisms behind spatial and water safety challenges in the Netherlands. Where we learned how to engage in these challenges during our bachelor, the master learns you to understand the system and how to effectively intervene in it. This goes beyond, for example, calculating dyke hights and failure mechanisms. It lets you think about water safety measures altogether and ask yourself the question “Is it always necessary?”. When completing this master, I am able not just to answer the question “How can we do this?” but also “Why should we do this?”.

Future-proof solutions
“During the first semester of the Master we focused on the situation on the isle of Schouwen-Duiveland, located in the Southwest Delta of the Netherlands. This island faces multiple challenges such as salinization of the rural area, a saturated aquaculture sector in the Eastern Scheldt and dykes that don’t meet current standards. A (partial) solution could be to heighten the dykes and place anti-seepage screens. A solution from a broader perspective could be to create multifunctional dyke zones that offer space for water safety, aquaculture and saline agriculture. This is how we can work on integral solutions that are also future-proof. The Master River Delta Development teaches me to look at challenges in the water sector from a broader perspective.”