Partly funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific research. An important aspect of NWA-ORC LOSS project is that we carry out the research within six designated work packages and collaborate with over 18 different partners. Partners include the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management, Ministry of the Interior & Kingdom relations, Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares Research Institute, TNO-Geological Survey of The Netherlands, Wageningen Environmental Research, Foundation for Applied Research STOWA, Hoogheemraadschap De Stichtse Rijnlanden, Water Authority Drents Overijsselse Delta, Province of Utrecht, Province of Zuid-Holland, Municipality of Gouda, Platform of Soft Soil Municipalities, Sweco, Tauw BV, and NAM.
Below is a description of all parties, which also reflects the wide range of potential users.
The Dutch Research Council is the most important science funding bodies in the Netherlands and realises quality and innovation in science. Each year, NWO invests almost 1 billion euros in curiosity-driven research, research related to societal challenges and research infrastructure.
National Keyregistry of the Subsurface From the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the program Keyregistry of the Subsurface is part of the consortium consisting of the NWA's ORC project Living on Soft Soils. Major challenges like soil subsidence, energy transition, spatial planning, climate change adaptation, and sustainable economic growth have a huge impact on the immediate living environment, not only above, but also below the ground level. All of these challenges have an impact on the subsurface. An integrated spatial planning of the surface in relation to subsurface is, therefore, essential. Not every function or activity can be simultaneously planned in the same 3D space. In short: in the near future, the pressure will be on in the subsurface and there will be a quest for space and utilization of the natural resources e.g. strategic water reserves versus geothermal energy. Our data-driven policy making forms the basis for our national spatial planning policy (NOVI) and the choices made by our decisionmakers in order to create a long-term sustainable use of our living environment based on utilization and protection of the subsurface. Therefore, accurate data and information is required about the subsurface - at national, regional and local level. Hence, we are working on the National Keyregistry of the Subsurface, following a step by step approach, by which more and more data of multiple subsurface domains will be recorded and made publicly accessible as part of our open data policy. Practical examples are being shared about, for example, land subsidence in the province of Friesland. See Proof of Concepts.
The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is participating in the Basic Registration Ground programme in the consortium of the NWA-ORC project Living on Soft Soils. We see that major challenges such as subsidence, energy transition, housing, climate adaptation and economic growth have an enormous impact on the immediate living environment - not only above but also below the ground. All these challenges are related to the use of the subsurface. An integrated spatial understanding of the subsurface in relation to the topsoil is therefore essential. After all, not everything can be done in the same place. In short: in the near future, there will be a lot of activity in the subsurface. As a foundation for a coherent policy and responsible spatial choices, unambiguous and reliable data and information about the soil and subsoil of the Netherlands are needed on a regional and local scale. This is why the Basic Registration for the Subsurface (BRO) is being set up, in which more and more subsurface data will gradually be included and made accessible to everyone. In the context of the basic registration, examples of best practice are also shared, for example about subsidence in Friesland. For more info, visit Practical examples.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management including Rijkswaterstaat is committed to improving quality of life, access and mobility in a clean, safe and sustainable environment. The Ministry strives to create an efficient network of roads, railways, waterways and airways, effective water management to protect against flooding, and improved air and water quality. Land subsidence, and its effects, is among the topics of interest for our Ministry. For this topic, innovative research and knowledge-based support would be helpful for local and regional authorities that are dealing with the negative impact of land subsidence. The proposed NWA-research program fits this ambition and is herefore seen as a valuable contribution by the Ministry. The risk that land subsidence imposes on Dutch society is self-evident, as reconfirmed by a 2016 publication by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency that has expressed this risk financially. In order to reduce the considerable societal costs associated with subsidence we feel that surface deformation should be monitored and predicted. We are currently exploring the possibilities to establish a National Information Facility on Soil Subsidence to that end, including databases on soil structure, groundwater levels, flows and groundwater models, predicted levels of soil subsidence and information on the cost-effectiveness of possible measures to delay and prevent soil subsidence. The program “Living with Soft Soils — Subsidence and Society” could deliver valuable contributions to the establishment of this National Information Facility on Soil Subsidence.
Gouda was built on peat and clay soils almost 1,000 years ago and has been struggling with subsidence ever since. The quality of life and the cultural heritage of this historical city are threatened in the long term by continuing subsidence, not to mention climate change. A few problems: - wooden pile foundations may suffer damage due to ever-decreasing groundwater levels - flood threat due to the combination of subsidence and climate change - health problems caused by damp problems - costs to maintain the accessibility of buildings and infrastructural costs It is necessary to develop a robust strategy to safeguard the liveability and cultural heritage of historic city centres affected by subsidence. For this purpose, a serious research and test programme (Solid City) will be started on the following topics; technical options, governance aspects, communication and finances. Therefore, the municipality and the Rijnland Water Board have joined forces in a broad Dutch coalition with other authorities, the business community and research institutes to investigate the challenges and solutions. For more information see www.gouda.nl/stevigestad
The province of Utrecht is one of the 12 provinces in the Netherlands. Spatial planning is a main task of the province. Soil subsidence is an important issue within this. Currently, this subject has a high priority due to the Climate Accord. Large parts of the western part of the province consist of peat soils. For some years now, studies have been conducted to improve our policy. Mostly cooperation with water boards and neighbouring provinces is involved. LOSS offers opportunities to expand our knowledge. Loss covers the entire policy cycle. Within it, we pay special attention to two sub-areas. The first is obtaining 'up-to-date' information on the extent of subsidence. At the moment we can only make statements about the long term. It is now hardly possible to determine the effects of measures directly. Secondly, we are interested in the processes of policy design and implementation to achieve maximum effect.
As one of the 21 water authorities in the Netherlands, we are responsible for flood control, water quantity and water quality management within our region. The region spans from Deventer in the South to Assen in the north, covers about 255.000 ha and includes more than 620.000 inhabitants spread out over 22 municipalities. About 15% of the area consists of peatlands. It includes the polder Mastenbroek, the area surrounding Staphorst and the National Park Weerrribben-Wieden, the largest wetland of North-Western Europe. In these areas, it becomes more difficult to maintain optimal water levels for the different stakeholders due to land subsidence caused by peat degradation. As a water authority we work closely with the community and partner organisations to search for best-fit solutions based on the latest insights. As this research programs aims to expend this knowledge base, we are keen to participate. We support the program by offering our expertise, as well as by data that is collected at our field research location near the municipality of Rouveen.
Als waterschap zorgen wij voor veilig wonen met water en voor voldoende schoon water voor landbouw, natuur en in de stad. Ons werkgebied strekt zich uit van Deventer tot Assen en van Kampen tot Hoogeveen. Het gebied is circa 255.000 hectare groot en telt 620.000 inwoners verdeeld over 22 gemeenten. Zo’n 15 procent van ons werkgebied bestaat uit veengronden. Hierbij moet je denken aan de polder Mastenbroek, het gebied rondom Staphorst en zéker ook het Nationaal Park Weerribben-Wieden, het grootste veengebied van Noord-West Europa. Door bodemdaling vanwege veenoxidatie is optimaal peilbeheer steeds lastiger te realiseren. Als waterschap zijn we continue in gesprek met onze inwoners en mede(overheids)instanties om te zoeken naar passende oplossingen gebaseerd op actuele kennis. Omdat het onderzoeksprogramma er op gericht is deze kennis uit te breiden, kozen wij ervoor het programma te ondersteunen, o.a. door kennis en data van de onderzoekslocatie bij Rouveen beschikbaar te stellen.
"Hoogheemraadschap de Stichtse Rijnlanden" is a regional watherauthority located in the middle of the Netherlands. The organisation is responsible for safe dikes, clean surface water and dry feets. Approximately 40 percent of the management area of the waterauthority consists out of peatland areas. These areas subside around 1 cm a year, which increases watermanagement costs significantly. The waterauthority has an ambition to reduce this subsidence rate with at least 50 percent before the year 2030. To realize this, the waterauthority together with several partners invest in new techniques to reduce soil subsidence. These techniques range from measures taken in the field as subsurface drainage, to a change in its policy rules. The waterautority wants to initiate more pilot projects to provide farmers and residents in the peatland areas with a complete toolbox of measures against soil subsidence.
As water authority, we ensure safe living with water and sufficient clean water for agriculture, nature and the city. Our working area stretches from Deventer to Assen and from Kampen to Hoogeveen. The area is approximately 255,000 hectares and has 620,000 inhabitants spread over 22 municipalities. About 15 percent of our working area consists of peat soil. These include the Mastenbroek polder, the area around Staphorst and definitely the Weerribben-Wieden National Park, the largest peatland area in North-West Europe. Soil subsidence due to peat oxidation is making optimal water level management increasingly difficult to achieve. As a water board we are in constant dialogue with our residents and other (government) bodies to look for suitable solutions based on current knowledge. Because the research programme aims to expand this knowledge, we chose to support the programme, for example by making knowledge and data from the Rouveen research site available.
Platform Slappe Bodem is a partnership for and by local and regional authorities that works to raise awareness and put the issue of subsidence on the agenda of various national, policy fields and agendas. The aim of the Slack Soil Platform is to manage subsidence in the Netherlands by making conscious choices for the medium to long term. We draw on the expertise of knowledge institutes and the experience gained in current practical projects. The National Subsidence Knowledge Programme works continuously on current themes and inventories practical projects. For more info, see slappebodem.nl/wie-zijn-wij
Intentionally dealing with soil subsidence and its consequences requires a thorough knowledge of: (1) the various subsidence mechanisms that contribute to the total subsidence observed at ground level, and (2) the effect of various measures and forms of management, policy and legislation. Within the LOSS project, the UU contributes from different faculties to the development of knowledge on subsidence mechanisms and the quantification of the soil movement that results from this (UU-GEO and UU-SCIENCE), prediction models for subsidence under different scenarios (e.g. climate, water management, land use, type of measures), governance capacities (UU-CISD) and the legal framework (UU-REBO) and how this can be optimised to implement measures against subsidence.
To tackle the problem of land subsidence, it is imperative that we first know where subsidence occurs, what the magnitudes are, and how the movement of the surface develops over time. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done: there are no optimal and reliable techniques to measure the vertical dynamics of any given point on the earth’s surface, especially if no fixed benchmarks are available. Moreover, if this needs to be provided very frequently in time, at a millimeter precision level, and against acceptable cost, there are no viable methods. Within the LOSS project, TU Delft will develop reliable methods to observe the subsidence. We will do this by combining various geodetic methods, with a dominant role for satellite-borne radarsystems.
To be able to do something about subsidence, we first have to know where subsidence occurs, to what extent it occurs and how it evolves over time. To measuring is to know. However, this is easier said than done; we hardly have any reliable techniques for measuring the vertical movement at a random location. Especially when this has to be measured frequently, with a precision level of millimetres, and at somewhat manageable costs. Within the LOSS project, TU Delft is developing reliable methods to observe land subsidence. We do this by using a combination of geodetic methods, with an important role for satellite-based radar systems.
Wageningen University is the leading European university in Life Sciences. The strength of WU lies in the combined efforts of the various fields of natural and social sciences. Two research groups of Wageningen University contribute to the LOSS project. (i) The Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group (ENR) combines education and research in environmental and natural resource economics. The group has a strong track record in integrated modelling (combining (bio-)physical with economic models), in resource management (including water and soil), and in the economics of risk management. (ii) The Soil Biology Group (SBL) of WU is recognised for their work on sustainable (agro)ecosystems. Key research areas comprise the role of soil organisms in element (carbon, nutrient) transformations in soils. The research is embedded in three themes: fertile soils; soil functional biodiversity; and soils and climate change.
Subsidence Exploring the subsurface with the Geological Survey of the Netherlands Many activities in the subsurface require estimates subsidence. It is no coincidence that this is a key objective of the Geological Survey of the Netherlands. The combination is our strength: knowledge and data; deep and shallow; measuring, understanding and predicting. We make it clear where and how much the ground is subsiding, so that policy can be adjusted accordingly. We have knowledge of the processes that cause subsidence – as a result of human intervention – in the shallow and deep subsurface. We investigate the deep and shallow causes of subsidence in relationship with each other, so that we can unravel the different causes. In addition to this knowledge, we also have access to lots of data about the structure of the subsurface and the speed of subsidence. We measure, monitor and model subsidence, in order to continuously improve our forecasting capability and risks can thus be analysed and considered in a balanced way and incorporated in policy development. At the LOSS project we contribute with methods and studies on disentanglement of different causes of measured subsidence. We further contribute to formulations of physical models for subsidence calculation and implement these in our 3D subsurface models – both from deep and shallow causes.
In depth with the Netherlands Geological Survey - Many activities in the subsurface require an estimate of possible subsidence. This is one of the spearheads of the Geological Survey of the Netherlands. The combination is our strength: knowledge and data; deep and shallow; measuring, understanding and predicting. We make visible where and how much the soil is subsiding, so that policy can be adjusted accordingly. We have knowledge of the processes that cause subsidence - as a result of human intervention - in both the shallow and deep subsurface. We study the deep and shallow causes of subsidence in conjunction with each other, whereby we can unravel subsidence in its various manifestations. In addition to this knowledge, we also have access to a great deal of data on both the structure of the subsurface and the speed of subsidence. We measure, monitor and model subsidence so that we can increasingly predict it. In policy development, both the opportunities and the risks can then be analysed and weighed in a balanced way. In the LOSS project, our role is to contribute with methods and studies to unravel the various causes of measured soil subsidence. We also contribute to the formulation of physical models that can be used to calculate subsidence and implement these in our 3D subsurface models - both of deep and shallow causes.
Wageningen Environmental Research offers a combination of practical, innovative and interdisciplinary scientific research across many disciplines related to the green world around us and the sustainable use of our living environment. Aspects of our environment on which Wageningen Environmental Research focuses include soil, water, the atmosphere, the landscape and biodiversity ‒ on a global scale as well as regionally, from the Dutch polders to the Himalayas and from Amsterdam to the Arctic. The Wageningen University & Research (WUR) wide Knowledge Base project Circular and Climate Neutral contributes support to the LOSS project. This Knowledge Base program focusses on research that contributes to circular and climate positive food and non-food production systems. The problems in the peat meadow areas such as peat oxidation, subsidence and CO2-emissions have a specific attention in this program Wageningen Environment Research and Soil Biology Group, Wageningen University will specifically contribute to Work Package 2.3 to determine the effects of water management on subsidence and GHG emissions at the laboratory (peat columns) and field scale to verify and improve the existing SWAP/ANIMO model as basis for scenario calculations that will allow for reliable regional subsidence predictions over the short and long term. In this it will also contribute to Work Package 3 “Predictive modelling” with scenario studies.
Wageningen Environmental Research carries out strategic and applied research for policy, management and design of green space on a local, national and international scale. On the one hand this involves innovative, interdisciplinary and interactive research into complex problems in the sphere of green space, and on the other hand we provide ready-to-use knowledge and expertise to solve practical problems quickly and effectively. In order to carry out our research properly, we have both broad expertise and a range of facilities at our disposal, such as laboratories, databases and DNA techniques. The WUR-wide Knowledge Base project Circular and Climate Neutral (KB-34) contributes to the LOSS project. This KB programme focuses on research that simultaneously contributes to circular and climate-positive food and non-food production systems. The peatland problems such as peat oxidation, subsidence and CO2 emission have special attention. Wageningen Environmental Research and the Soil Biology Group of Wageningen University will contribute specifically to work package 2.3 that will determine the effect of water management on subsidence and greenhouse gas emissions through research at laboratory scale (peat columns) and field scale. This will improve the existing SWAP/ANIMO model and use it as a basis for short and long term scenario calculations for regional and subsidence. It will thus contribute to work package 3.1 with scenario studies.
Tauw is an independent European consulting and engineering company specialized in the design, improvement and management of the natural environment, built-up environment and infrastructure. Founded as “Technisch Adviesbureau voor de Unie van Waterschappen” in 1928, we have a strong tradition in working together with our clients. Tauw wants to contribute to a sustainable environment. We challenge our professionals to use state of the knowledge and to apply innovative approaches. Together with our clients and research institutes, we invest in the development of these approaches. Land Subsidence is an important problem in deltas, like the Netherlands. Due to climate change and type and intensity of (unsustainable) land use the problem is increasing. Mitigating land subsidence asks for an integrated approach that is based on scientific knowledge of the critical processes in the subsurface. The added value of this program is its interdisciplinary and integral approach of the problem of land-subsidence. The proposal includes both (fundamental) science, governance and practical knowledge. To our opinion this not only accelerates the dissemination of science but also helps to set the research questions more profoundly. Our role focusses on the model development (REPEAT model, a serious game) and on the exchange of expertise and data on subsidence of peat lands in cases under consideration.
Tauw is a European consulting and engineering firm that wants to contribute to a more sustainable living environment through studies, measurements and designs. We challenge our professionals to innovate. Together with our clients and research institutes, we invest in new solutions and concepts. Soil subsidence is a major problem in deltas. Climate change and the type and intensity of land use are increasing the problem. Dealing with subsidence requires an integrated approach. New concepts and techniques must be developed. This requires an integral approach where, in addition to knowledge about land use, scientific knowledge of the processes in the soil-water system is also necessary. The added value of this programme is the interdisciplinary and integrated approach to the problem of soil subsidence. The research programme includes (fundamental) science, governance and practical knowledge. In our opinion, this not only speeds up knowledge development and exchange, but also helps to deepen the research questions. Our role focuses on model development (REPEAT model, a serious game) and the exchange of practical knowledge on subsidence.
Sweco plans and designs the sustainable communities and cities of the future. The results of our work are sustainable buildings, efficient infrastructure and access to clean water. With 17,000 employees in Northern Europe, we offer our clients the right expertise for every project. Sweco is Europe’s leading architecture and engineering consultancy. In several countries like the Netherlands we have to deal with the challenges of soft soils in urban and rural areas. In our daily work we are confronted with issues caused by soil subsidence. This theme affects almost every aspect you can think of like spatial planning, water management, engineering, finance and to the social context in which soil subsidence occurs. Taking into account the challenge of climate change this theme will become urgent more and more. Not only in the cities but in rural areas as well. We believe that participation in LOSS improves the interaction between research and our organization. To face the challenges of soil subsidence and climate change and reduce costs on the long term for maintenance of the urban environment and implement innovative solutions we have to increase our knowledge. Sweco carries out several projects on soft soils, from initiation phase till development. Examples are urban areas, improvements of dikes and sports fields. For new developments it is important in the study phase to carry out soil investigations and calculate the settlements for level up areas as good as possible. This will reduce building costs and the costs of maintenance. In existing urban areas municipalities face the effects of residual settlements caused by inadequate site preparation or autonomous soil subsidence In agricultural peat areas the right measures should be taken to decrease soil subsidence and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In the program we mainly contribute with pilots bringing geo-engineering expertise, data and experiences and transfer of experiences in asset management en monitoring.
Sweco designs and develops the sustainable societies and cities of the future. Sweco is the largest architecture and engineering consultancy in Europe. With 17,000 experts, who have extensive regional, national and international knowledge and technical expertise, we work to meet the challenges posed by the changing climate and urbanisation. In the past 100 years of our company's existence, we have covered every square inch of the Netherlands. With this knowledge of the Netherlands, both above and below ground, Sweco as a large, innovative and multidisciplinary engineering consultancy is well prepared to play an important role in the transition of tomorrow. In several countries such as the Netherlands, areas are struggling with soil subsidence, both in urban and rural areas. In our daily work we are confronted with problems caused by soil subsidence. This theme touches virtually every conceivable aspect, such as spatial planning, water management, engineering, finance and the social context in which subsidence occurs. Given the challenge of climate change, this theme will become increasingly urgent. Not only in the cities but also in the countryside. By participating in LOSS, we are happy to link our company to current research. To meet the challenges of subsidence and climate change, to reduce the long-term costs of maintaining the urban environment and to implement innovative solutions, we need to increase our knowledge. Sweco carries out various projects in the area of soft ground and subsidence, from start-up to development. Examples are the development or reconstruction of urban areas, dyke improvements and sports fields. For new developments and reconstructions, it is important to carry out soil research during the preparation phase and to calculate the expected settlement as well as possible. This reduces construction and maintenance costs. In existing urban areas, municipalities are confronted with the effects of residual settlements as a result of inadequate pre-loading or autonomous land subsidence. In peatland areas, the right measures must be taken to reduce subsidence and cut greenhouse gas emissions. In the LOSS programme, we contribute mainly by means of pilots. For this we bring in geotechnical expertise, data and experience in asset management and monitoring.