Strategic Plan Room for Water Dender Valley

The Strategic Plan Room for Water Dender Valley forms the guideline for the future development and design of a more resilient Dender Valley. IMDC – in close cooperation with De Vlaamse Waterweg nv, the Environment Departement and the Province of East Flanders is responsible for the project management, the hydraulic modelling and the water related aspects of the Plan.

The project's mission is to reduce the risk of flooding, whereby not only the risk is considered, but also the spatial and social added values for the area. IMDC and partners are looking for solutions for the flooding problem and for the valley itself. Think of possibilities in the field of housing, economy, agriculture, nature and so on. The Strategic Plan plans measures and actions that put this integrated development vision into practice.

The process approach for drawing up the Strategic Plan is a method based on research by design, co-creation, openness and consultation. This approach is aimed at an efficient and high-quality process to reduce the flood risk in the Dender Valley with maximum stakeholder’s support and maximum added social and spatial value. 

  1. After ending the exploratory phase (2017-2018), the partners started in 2019 with the preparation of the research phase. As a first step, the mission and the goals of the strategic plan are elaborated in several (measurable) objectives, also called ambitions. This resulted in June 2020 in a memorandum of goals and ambitions: a compass towards a strategic plan for the Dender Valley. 
  2. To realize these ambitions, several building blocks (concepts of possible measures) were elaborated during fall 2020, based on the inventory during the earlier exploratory phase, work sessions and debate with the stakeholders, design research and surface water modelling. In total, eight building blocks are included and described in the building blocks note. 
  3. With these building blocks various alternatives will be put together to obtain the goals of the strategic plan (2021). In the next step – from 2022 on – these alternatives will be examined through integrated research to evaluate in which extend these alternatives contribute to the mission and the goals of the strategic plan: to reduce the flood risk and to realize spatial and social added values. 
  4. This will lead in 2022 to a proposal for a preferred alternative that will be submitted to the Flemish government for approval. After this formal approval, the different partners and stakeholders can start with the preparation and realization of the different measures.
Overview of the process towards a Strategic Plan Room for the River Dender Valley
Signing of the memorandum of goals and ambitions by the stakeholders (June 2021)

IMDC was responsible for the general project management. This project management involved the organisation and follow up of both internal and external processes and communication with the client and the stakeholders.

IMDC was also responsible for the surface water modelling (Mike11) of the different alternatives. Boundary conditions took the predicted climate change in 2050 into account. 

The modelling resulted in an overview of effects of each of the alternatives in relation to the reference situation: change in water levels of the Dender under extreme discharge (T100), change in flood contour in the valley and change in water depth within this flood contour. The latter two effects are important to get an insigth of the effects of the alternatives on the flood damage of the build up areas in the Dender Valley. 

For more information: see

Flood map as a result of the hydraulic modelling for one of the alternatives


  • Client: De Vlaamse Waterweg nv
  • Start date: 2019
  • Completion date: 2021