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Rising up in a thin line through the waters separating the provinces of North Holland and Friesland, the 87-year-old Afsluitdijk is one of the low-lying Netherlands' key defenses against its ancient enemy, the sea. With climate change bringing more powerful storms and rising sea levels , the dike is getting a major makeover.
The Dutch government has embarked on a future-proofing project to beef up the iconic 32-kilometer (20-mile) dam. Work is already underway and is expected to continue until 2023.
Afsluitdijk - Rest - World - Regions - Decades
Just what the Afsluitdijk and the rest of the world's coastal regions will have to endure in the coming decades will be outlined this week in a new United Nations scientific report on the impact of climate change on ice and oceans.
The Dutch, whose low-lying country is crisscrossed by rivers and bordered by the sea, have been battling with water for centuries. That challenge will only grow as warmer temperatures cause sea levels to rise. With that in mind, the government this year established a "knowledge program on rising sea levels" that aims to feed expertise into the country's ongoing program of building and maintaining its water defenses.
Netherlands - Delta - World - Government - Program
"The Netherlands is currently the safest delta in the world," the government said, announcing the new program. "We want to keep it that way."
Boris Teunis, an expert on emergency water management with the Dutch water agency Rijkswaterstaat, said in a recent interview that sea levels have been rising for years "but what we are worrying about is if that is going to accelerate."
Engineers - Afsluitdijk - Thousands - Concrete - Blocks
Engineers are strengthening the Afsluitdijk, including laying thousands of custom-made concrete blocks and raising parts of it. They are also improving the highway that runs over the narrow strip of man-made land which lies between the shallow Wadden Sea and the Ijsselmeer inland sea and which, despite its name, is technically a...
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