CEDA dredging conference discusses sustainability

Attendees at CEDA conference. Credit: Mees van den Ekart
Attendees at CEDA conference. Credit: Mees van den Ekart

Participants of CEDA-IADC’s recent Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure Conference, which took place on 19–20 November 2018 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, talked in superlatives about the event. Two days’ worth of interactive sessions gave delegates valuable opportunities to apply key topics set forth in the CEDA-IADC guidebook with the same title. With growing environmental awareness and increasing climate pressures on low-lying deltas, modern-day society puts incredibly strong demands on the sustainability of water infrastructure projects. All these topics were discussed and explored in the event.

The start of the conference was a surprise: the customary keynotes were replaced by an activity during which a “grand vision” of a future sustainable coastal city was created as designated individuals gave short pitches and directed skilful hands to reflect their visions and ideas in a huge live painting. The completed picture are expected to inspire generations of coastal engineering students at the Delft University of Technology.

The first copy of the just published guidebook Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure was conferred by Polite Laboyrie, CEDA president and chair of the Editorial Board, to Dr Hartwig Kremer, UN Environment, head of GEMS Water Unit and Climate Technology Centre and Network, CTCN. The book contains contributions from leading specialists in the field and will serve as an authoritative guide to delivering dredging projects that enhance the natural and socio-economic systems. It also gives state-of-the-art guidance on how to design and implement a water infrastructure project.

Four selected key enablers for developing and constructing sustainable water infrastructure were introduced by internationally known experts during the CEDA-IADC’s conference:

  • Using an Ecosystem Approach by Professor Dr Patrick Meire, University of Antwerp
  • Investing in Stakeholder Engagement by Jaap Van Thiel De Vries, Boskalis
  • Applying Adaptive Management by Dr Mark Lee, HR Wallingford
  • Seeking Win-Win Solutions through Beneficial Use of Sediments, by Dr Todd Bridges, US Army Corps of Engineers

Each key enabler was then discussed in small groups, based on fictitious or real cases. Findings were openly discussed and group conclusions were drawn together.