COASTAR at International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam


On September 19, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) opened with the exhibition ‘Drought in the Delta’, for which Allied Waters and its partners provided input. Among the features of the opening exhibition is the future vision of COASTAR: large-scale freshwater provision through a smart use of the subsurface, both in and behind the dunes in low-lying areas of the Netherlands.

How can the water buffering capacity of the delta be increased? The answer to that question is visualised by means of a 30-meter wide, 3.5-meter high animated cross section of the Dutch Delta. In about seven minutes one can see how our delta currently functions, what problems have arisen due to climate change, and what possible building blocks might exist for a new, collective freshwater strategy, in conjunction with other transition challenges, such as the energy transition, food production and urbanisation. Four exemplary Dutch projects that offer concrete solution paths for a new freshwater strategy are featured. COASTAR is one of these paths.

COASTAR focuses on a large-scale freshwater provision through the smart use of the subsurface. Freshwater storage in the saline subsurface bridges the time and spatial discrepancies between water demand and water supply. COASTAR also tackles the increasing salinisation, by extracting brackish groundwater and using it for the production of freshwater. COASTAR was developed over the last few years within a TKI knowledge program with the participation of Allied Waters, KWR, Deltares and Arcadis, and the business community and governments in the Province of South Holland: from concept, to exploration, to applications.

One of the concrete applications is the implementation of brackish water extraction from under the dunes, which will be tested in practice by Dunea and KWR starting next year. This pilot is part of the EU LIFE Freshman project, in which De Watergroep, the water utility IWVA and Allied Waters are also participants.

The IABR ‘Drought in the Delta’ exhibition can be seen from Saturday, September 19, through to Sunday, October 18, in the Keilezaal, Keilestraat 9-K1, Rotterdam. Since visits are organised by time slots, reservation is necessary.

Artist impression of the Atelier Drought in the Delta animation © IABR, Studio Marco Vermeulen.

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