An increasing part of the world population lives in deltas, protected by dikes. Due to climate change, the sea level is rising, and as a result of extreme weather conditions the height of waves is increasing. This is not only the case in The Netherlands; in the next few years an enormous amount of dikes have to be fortified in places all over the world.
Various companies within GBP are doing research into efficient methods for testing dike safety. This is done by, among other things, monitoring the coverage on the dike bodies or detecting minimal shifts of the dike bodies. These types of monitoring are carried out by use of satellites or airplanes.
In order to test the actual strength of dike bodies on site – in particular that of the inner talus – INFRAM and Van der Meer Consulting have developed a wave overtopping simulator: a large container that is constantly filled with water and that, according to a wave pattern and in exact doses, runs thousands of litres of water across the inner talus. This is meant to examine the failure mechanisms and determine how much wave overtopping a grass talus can process. Subsequently, this knowledge is translated into the test rules, with which dike managers are to assess the strength of their dikes.
The wave overtopping simulator has been employed successfully at various locations in The Netherlands, including on the Afsluitdijk. This facility has also stirred international attention. Under the aegis of Van der Meer Consulting, a specimen of this machine is currently being built and tested in Vietnam.