Hertog Reijnout steam pumping station, the Netherlands - 1881
When water levels reach extremes around low-lying land in the Nijkerk region of the Netherlands, a 135-year-old steam pumping station is stoked into action to assist with drainage. This pumping station was our very first project in 1881 and sets a quality benchmark for all our work – it’s a solution built to last. At the end of the 19th century, steam pumping stations like Nijkerk were increasingly in demand as they provided more effective drainage than the traditional sluice gates and windmills. Today, we continue to adopt new and emerging technologies as we work to keep people safe from flood in countries all over the world.
Royal National Lifeboat Institute, United Kingdom - 1887
In the late 1800s, more than 200 fishing boats operated from the beaches around Sheringham on the east coast of England. Fishing was the main source of income for the town, but as the number of boats increased, so did the loss of life at sea. The sheer number of fishermen soon attracted the attention of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) which set up a lifeboat station there. Today the RNLI continues to save lives at sea around the coasts of the United Kingdom. In 2015 alone, RNLI lifeboats launched 8,228 times, saved nearly 350 lives and rescued nearly 8,000 people. We’ve been working with the RNLI since 1887 designing and managing projects to build the lifeboat stations which keep this vital service operating.
Dike restoration, the Netherlands - 1916
When the winter storms of 1916 caused deep holes to open up in the North dike near Andijk in the Netherlands, we made the repairs needed to protect the community from further flooding. It was the first of many emergency assignments to repair damaged flood defences, not just in the Netherlands but in countries including Vietnam, Bangladesh, the United States and the United Kingdom. As weather becomes more unpredictable, we are redesigning systems and adopting new techniques to make communities more resilient so they avoid the damage and disruption that occurs when defences are breached. In addition, our early warning systems are helping alert communities to rising flood risk so they can take action and stay safe.
Irrigation El Ghab valley, Syria – 1952
Flooding of the Orontes River over many centuries created a swamp out of the fertile Al-Ghab valley in Syria. In 1952, we were asked to develop a plan to drain and irrigate the marshland using dams and reservoirs; open up the area with a new road network; design villages, farms and fisheries; and research opportunities for hydroelectric energy. Considered one of the most important hydraulic projects in northern Syria, the Al-Ghab project created new opportunities for agriculture, and the road and rail networks improved communications. Malaria decreased with the removal of stagnant water pools. Our ability to draw together our expertise from many disciplines is just as relevant today in developing solutions for communities challenged by too much or too little water.
Clean drinking water for the communities, Tanzania - 1980
For nearly 50 years, we have been working on projects to bring clean, safe drinking water to communities in Africa. In 1972, more residents in the Congolese capital Brazzaville were able to access mains supply as a result of a project to improve and extend the water system. Two years later we carried out projects in Tanzania establishing wells and water pumps for rural communities. Today in the Mozambique capital Maputo, we are involved in a new sustainable water system to pipe good quality drinking water into the homes of 650,000 residents. Projects like these are vital for people’s health and happiness and we are constantly striving to develop new, smart solutions to make water treatment and distribution more efficient and accessible.
Room for the River, the Netherlands
After dangerously high river levels forced mass evacuation of people and livestock in the 1990s, the Netherlands had to radically rethink its approach to flood protection. Room for the River was the result. Instead of raising the height of dikes, the river system was reshaped to increase the rate of discharge of water into the delta. We were closely involved with designing, planning and implementing this innovative scheme. It needed the support of local communities and included improvements to their areas. As a result, as well as providing high water level protection for 4 million people in the river catchment areas, the scheme strengthened local economies and opened up new recreational areas for everyone to enjoy. We are working on innovative new approaches to flood protection in many areas of the world and involving local communities in solutions which provide social, economic and environmental benefits alongside the reduction of flood risk.
Tsunami response, Indonesia
On 26 December 2004, an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia unleashed a massive tsunami across the Indian Ocean. In Indonesia, Aceh was the worst affected region. An estimated 160,000 people lost their lives and many more had homes and livelihoods wrecked. We led a consortium of Dutch and Indonesian consultants in a project to ensure the population was better prepared and protected in future. Our work incorporated sea defence, flood protection, escape infrastructure and early warning, as well as urban drainage and sanitation proposals. Our employees also responded, donating annual leave to fund project management training for individuals working on schemes to improve the lives of the people in the area. Today buildings have been rebuilt and repaired, new communities have emerged and many of the survivors have re-established their livelihoods. Populations are better protected through structural improvements such as dikes, sea walls and re-greening of coastal areas and through the early warning system, evacuation routes, refuge towers, and programmes of training and awareness in local communities.
Ingula Underground Power Station, South Africa
Ingula Peaking Power Station is a hydroelectric pumped-storage scheme in South Africa which provides power to the grid during critical peak demand periods, allowing millions to enjoy the benefits of a reliable electricity supply, which is vital for economic development. At night, surplus power in the grid is used to pump water from the lower reservoir, located at the foot of the Little Drakensberg Mountain range, to the upper reservoir, some 400 meters above. During generating mode, the flow is reversed. The powerhouse has been built under the mountain, 116 stories below ground level. We were involved with the project from 2005 as part of a joint venture and designed and supervised construction of the dams, roads, buildings and massive underground works. The power station started operation in 2016 and enables the country to meet the energy demands of its growing modern economy in a sustainable way.
Ringsend wastewater treatment plant upgrade, Dublin, Ireland
The growth of Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, has put pressure on wastewater treatment facilities with some plants operating above their intended capacity. In 2012, plans were approved to upgrade Ringsend wastewater treatment plant which is one of the world’s biggest municipal treatment plants. However new developments in water treatment methods led to the plans being revised. By introducing our revolutionary Nereda® technology to the plant, a significant cost saving will be achieved. Once complete, the plant will have the capacity to treat wastewater for a population equivalent to 2.4 million in full compliance with European quality requirements. Our Nereda plants and retrofitting activities are helping to safeguard human health and protect the environment using more sustainable and effective methods for water treatment.
Flood protection New Orleans, United States of America
Levees extending for 350 miles were not enough to protect New Orleans from the massive flood disaster of Hurricane Katrina. Severe storm surge in Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain resulted in multiple breaches of the defences and flooded around 80% of the city. In 2006, we were commissioned to be part of the project and program management team to redesign and rebuild the entire risk reduction system to make New Orleans a safer place. The work, completed in 2011, includes levee improvements and two storm surge barriers to seal the city off from the Gulf of Mexico. The result is a more resilient system which reduces the risks faced by current and future residents of New Orleans.