Delta Works/ Zuiderzee Works Facts

Delta Works/ Zuiderzee Works Facts
Because the Netherlands is one of the most low-lying countries in the world, its people have struggled every time a storm raises the water levels. As far back as the first century A.D. the inhabitants of this area have attempted to protect themselves from the devastation the rising water levels have caused. The Zuiderzee was originally a shallow bay in the North Sea. It was about 30 miles wide and reached 60 miles inland. Although it was a large bay it was only about 15 feet deep. Every time there was a storm, dikes failed and the land was flooded.
Interesting Delta Works/ Zuiderzee Works Facts:
Planning for the Delta Works began in 1953, after centuries of floods that not only destroyed property, but took thousands of lives. The Delta Works consist of storm surge barriers, dams, locks, levees and dikes, all designed to enlarge the land, shorten the coastline and protect their land from the ocean.
The Zuiderzee served as an excellent resource for the Dutch. It allowed for access to trade as well as fishing.
In Dutch, Zuiderzee means "Southern Sea".
The Zuiderzee was originally 2000 square miles in size.
When a seawall on the Zuiderzee dike failed during a storm in 1421, 72 villages were flooded. Approximately 10,000 people were killed.
The first plan devised to fix the problem of flooding and devastation was drawn up in the 17th century. The technology to address the problem was not available until the 19th century.
A Dutch civil engineer Cornelis Lely devised the plan to build a dam to close off Zuiderzee which would turn it into a lake.
In 1913 Cornelis Lely became the Minister of Transport and Public Works. He continued to meet with concerns until 1916. A winter storm that year brought more flooding.
In 1918 Lely's plan was approved. They used boulder clay, also called till, as the base for the dam.
In 1932 the sea was closed off and Zuiderzee, now a lake, was named Ijsselmeer. The cost of the project would the equivalent to $710 million U.S. in 2004.
In 1953 massive flooding occurred again, killing about 2,000 people.
The 1953 flooding covered over 150,000 hectares of land.
The plans for the Delta Works began after the flood of 1953.
The Delta Works took almost 50 years to complete. Although it was considered finished in 1997, the official opening did not occur until 2010. In 2010 the last retaining wall was strengthened and raised.
In 1997 the cost of the Delta Works reached $7 billion.
Delta Works has 13 barriers and dams. The largest is Oosterscheldekering.
The concrete used to build the Delta Works has a guarantee of 200 years.
Delta Works has 16,500km of dams.
The construction of Delta Works created more than 895 square miles of re-claimed land.
Thanks to the Delta Works, the risk of flooding has been greatly reduced. Because of global water levels rising, it will be necessary to maintain and build up Delta Works over time.
The Zuiderlee and Delta Works together are one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

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