Sediment management of the Rhine-Meuse Delta


The Rhine-Meuse delta connects Europe’s largest seaport, the Port of Rotterdam, with a vast hinterland in Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The rivers are vital to the economy, the environment, and flood safety.

To facilitate continuous navigation, and due to the deposition of fine sediment in the Rhine and Meuse rivers, cyclic maintenance dredging is required. On the other hand, erosion of the riverbed threatens infrastructure in and along the rivers.

Royal HaskoningDHV is a preferred consultancy supplier to the Dutch government for river management and sustainable dredging strategies. We are contracted for field measurements, studies, design, and consultancy.

Our position

In numerous studies, Royal HaskoningDHV advises Rijkswaterstaat about efficient sediment management and dredging strategies for the Rhine-Meuse Delta. In some studies, this is based on numerical modelling, while in other studies, we base our advice primarily on observations and data.

These studies include:

  • Analyses of return flow of disposed dredging material in the North Sea and identifying more sustainable dredging methods and disposal locations. The studies show that a large part of the fine sediment released in the North Sea is being transported back to the port by tidal and flood currents, after which this sediment settles and needs to be dredged again.

  • Comparison of different dredging strategies, e.g. overdepth, based on numerical modelling. We predict maintenance dredging volumes for each alternative dredging strategy, to conclude the most efficient dredging strategy.

  • Analyses of (growing) scour holes in the riverbed. We assess different strategies for sediment management to reduce the scour holes or to prevent undesired effects of scour holes. We predict the costs and effects on the river functions for each of the strategies.

Such studies help Rijkswaterstaat to better understand the sediment dynamics in the delta system and to improve the management of (dredged) sediment in the Rhine-Meuse Delta and the nearshore area of the North Sea.