Belgium - Antwerp

Waterwegen en Zeekanaal NV, Antwerp


The disastrous floods of 1953 and 1976 made ​​it clear that Flanders had to protect itself against storm surges from the North Sea. To ensure greater safety in the Scheldt Region the Sigma plan was drawn up. This plan was to increase and strengthen the levees and the construction of thirteen flood control areas.

 A dike up to 512 km long has been built as part of the Sigma plan. By 2015, the entire dike network will be finished. Meanwhile, for twelve years the floodplains have proven their worth. By the end of 2012, the flood control area Kruibeke - Bazel - Rupelmonde will be operational. Its convenient location and huge capacity make the Scheldt Region immediately five times safer.
Rising sea levels and a better outlook on sustainable water management in 2005 gave rise to an update of the original Sigma plan. It is not sufficient only to raise a barrier against water, the water should be given space again. Therefore Waterways and Sea NV began the design and construction of additional flood areas along the Scheldt and its tributaries. W & Z is working closely with the Agency for Nature and Forest. The Sigma plan has several objectives; besides reducing the probability of flooding it also aims to restore the natural values ​​of the river.

The Hedwige-Prosper - Past

The Seascheldt Basin is an important waterway leading to the Port of Antwerp. The Sigmaplan aims to protect this area through the construction of controlled flooding areas and new alignments of river banks. The Hedwige-Prosperpolder at the North of the Scheldt will be "depoldered", given back to the river.  A fantastic pattern of mud flats, marshes and shoals will gradually develop (tidal nature). The depoldering is also good for safety. The depoldered area will allow the steam to escape during a storm tide. The tidal wave thus becomes less powerful and will cause less damage upstream.

The Hedwige-Prosper - Future