Using water as an ally against flooding

Climate change is causing not only an greater chance of heavy showers but the amount of rainfall in those showers is also increasing. The rainwater cannot drain into the ground due to the increase in paved and asphalt surfaces in many urban areas. As a consequence, we are  facing severe flooding more and more often. There are two things to tackle here - the climate and the lack of drainage possibilities. But we also we need solutions in the short term to protect our cities from water damage, such as flood defences.

Since the 1953 North Sea flood, the Low Lands have accumulated vast expertise in flood mitigation. Aggéres is one of those offering integrated solutions for flood-prone urban areas. This Belgian company built the largest automatic flood defence to date in Spakenburg for the Dutch government in 2015.

A self-closing flood barrier: innovation at its best

It is vital to find and implement the safest flood defence solutions available, to protect flood-prone areas. Continuous investment in research and innovation is crucial in providing the best protection for homes and cities. However, reliable and efficient flood defences often obstruct views and as a result, towns and dykes lose their allure. A part of the innovation process is therefore to find solutions for this aesthetic issue.

Aggéres has developed a Self-Closing Flood Barrier (SCFB) that is invisible in normal conditions. Only in flood conditions does the pressure of the rising water cause the barrier wall to raise automatically. This means that the water does all the work for us.

This simple and ingenious concept houses all its components underground when not in use, including the activation basin that follows the tides through inlet pipes. To prevent the (second) basin with the barrier wall from filling with water, a non-return valve is used. When the water reaches a critical level, it flows from the activation basin to the basin containing the flood barrier and the flood barrier rises. Once fully closed, the barrier wall is secured with a closing block before the rising water crosses the threshold. Even if the water continues to rise, it will not flood the protected area. When the water subsides, the barrier wall lowers itself back to its resting position.

SCFD Activation
SCFD Activation

This solution offers a reliable, effective and cost-saving alternative in areas where permanent flood defences are impossible or undesirable. This solution can last for decades and has limited maintenance requirements. As such, it also costs significantly less than other alternatives in the long run. Aggéres has its own 120,000-litre test basin, where they continuously fine-tune new technology.

The Netherlands, Europe and worldwide

The self-closing flood barrier has already seen success in several locations, such as in Spakenburg (the Netherlands), where the 300-metre-long and 80-cm-high barrier protects the harbour. In Antwerp too, an SCFB of 350 metres long and 2 metres in height will be installed in the renovated Royers Lock in 2026. These projects generate interest from companies and governments in the US, Canada and Asia who are all looking for the best solution for local flooding problems. It is clear that this technology will be able to help cities around the world in their battle against rising water levels.

aggeres spakenburg


Oliver Femont
Managing Director Aggéres

Oliver Femont - Managing Director Aggéres