Water resources are not endless, but must nevertheless support huge and ever increasing social and economic needs. Structured water resources management is therefore of major importance to ensure them to sustainably comply with these needs.
Water resources management / Water qualityIn the use of water resources different demands must be evaluated against availability. Strategies must be developed in order to establish priorities, and to determine whether water saving measures are required. Not the mere availability, but the availability of sufficient fresh water resources (surface and ground water) of good quality is important. Different users may require different qualities. Salt water intrusion along estuaries and canals and saline coastal aquifers require specific attention. Sufficiently good water quality is required for the conservation of wetland and river ecosystems. IMDC provides the necessary tools to model availability and quality, to investigate scenarios and to develop strategies.
Impact assessment / Climate change
Large infrastructural projects exert huge pressure on the water system during and after works. Changes in water quality, ground and surface water levels, etc. may strongly affect nature, agriculture, stability of foundations, etc. IMDC uses different types of models to study the changes in the water system, allowing for the evaluation of effects on the environment, and to study measures to mitigate the effects. IMDC often provides technical input for EIA. Climate change influences the hydrologic regime. Using perturbation factors derived from climate models IMDC calculates the effect of changes in temperature and rainfall on discharges using hydrological models. This allows us to take climate change into account when evaluating water resources.
Inland navigationIMDC also covers services for the design of waterway infrastructure. This includes cost benefit analysis and ESIA. Recently IMDC was involved in the maintenance of the Rio Magdalena (Colombia), and IMDC finalised the design study for the improvement of navigation on the Senegal river. IMDC started a feasibility and design study for the Ayeyarwady in Myanmar. Closer to home IMDC is studying the optimization of the ECMT Class Va network for the Voies Navigables the France.
Flood management / Nature Based Solutions
With the Sigmaplan the Flemish Government wants to protect build-up areas against floods as a result of storm tides. A number of controlled flood areas is constructed along the Scheldt and its tributaries. IMDC is involved in the design of some of these and other river restoration projects since more than 15 years using Nature Based Solutions. IMDC also assists in process and participation management with particular attention for people and nature.