Developing knowledge and measures to make high sandy grounds climate-robust

KWR partner in four-year KLIMAP project

Making the high-elevation sandy grounds in the Netherlands resilient to climate change: over the next four years, the KLIMAP project will be mapping out how this can be achieved. In close collaboration with land owners, managers and users, KWR and its 23 partners will study how the soil and water system in the high sandy grounds can be made climate-robust. These areas will then be better able to retain water to limit the impact of drought and to discharge water under flood conditions.

From field trials to development paths

The KLIMAP project will work with field trials to determine the effectiveness of measures, earnings models and area planning processes with a view to the climate-resistant organisation of the soil and water system. The applicable criteria are a sustainable economic and societal use of river basins, and how this can be realised. The technical, economic and social data from the field trials will be used to develop tools such as work processes, models, futures studies and policy-support systems. These will contribute to defining the envisaged development paths that should lead to climate-robust high sandy grounds.

Transition to a climate-adaptive organisation

KLIMAP is not only concerned with the final result, but also with the steps required to get there. For Myrjam de Graaf, project leader for Wageningen Environmental Research, it is important to translate the effectiveness and feasibility of measures to the regional situations. ‘A measure will always be a combination for instance of an earnings model, societal acceptance and benefits to water quality, storage and discharge.

It is a unique experience for us to be working with so many partners. With the knowledge and tools we will develop in this project, we expect that all the partners will be perfectly equipped for the further execution of this transition. They will then be able to flesh out what their specific region needs to realise a climate-adaptive organisation.’

Systeem voor subirrigatie met oppervlaktewater, Stegeren (foto: Bas Worm, Waterschap Vechtstromen)

System for subirrigation with surface water, Stegeren (photo: Bas Worm, Vechtstromen Water Authority)


For KWR, KLIMAP means that our knowledge institute will be working in the field trials with the project partners on measures like innovative drainage with subirrigation. How the measures work out at the local or regional level will be charted, and the associated opportunities and risks will be clarified.

The focus will be on retaining water, actively recharging groundwater, and discharging water only when necessary. The highest priority will be given to local water, with a reduced dependence on external or high-grade sources.

KWR will also be involved in the embedding and explanation of measures that should lead to a climate-robust organisation, and how these impact the whole water system. The different interests of the stakeholders will be brought together.


The KLIMAP collaboration project is co-funded by the Agri & Food and Water & Maritime top sectors. Besides KWR, the following partners are involved in project financing and execution: Aa and Maas Water Authority, Vallei and Veluwe Water Authority, De Dommel Water Authority, Brabantse Delta Water Authority, Limburg Water Authority, Vechtstromen Water Authority, Rijn and Ijssel Water Authority, Province of North Brabant, Province of Gelderland, Province of Limburg, STOWA, LLTB, Deltares, Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen Livestock Research, Wageningen University, Radboud University, Louis Bolk Institute, Van den Borne Projecten, KnowH2O, Kuipers Electronic Engineering, and Barth Drainage.