Blog: Impression in corona time
's Hertogenbosch (Noord-Brabant Province, The Netherlands)
June 2020 - I have been working through and for Waterfocus for eighteen months now. But I must be the most unknown member of the cooperative. Joined last and never attended a meeting once. I have been a freelancer since 2013 and have extensive experience in working on the infrastructure. On the border between land and water, I am in my element as a Technical Manager (IPM role) in dyke construction. Focused on results through cooperation across the IPM roles, both civil-technical and legal trained.
I had been a member of the Vereniging Waterforce for years and that is how I got to know the cooperative. In 2017, the Stichtse Rijnlanden Water Board entered the market with a major framework contract. They needed extra people to supervise the dyke improvements along the Lek (> 500 million). Waterfocus wanted to register in a combination and wanted to use my CV for that. One thing led to another: I became the Technical Manager of the Salmsteke sub-project. Less than five months later, the dyke improvement between Wijk bij Duurstede and Amerongen was added. I am very happy, well appreciated and the dyke improvements along the Lek will continue for years to come.
But, as so often, the work at HDSR is not without uncertainties. An 'Innovation Partnership' will be set up during the plan development. It is currently unclear to everyone working under the framework contract whether and how the "innovation partnership" will affect their own activities.
In addition to the limitations imposed by Corona, it is therefore exciting how this will develop in the future.
Recovery Brook Witterdiep, Drentse Aa
Assen, The Netherlands
Februari 2020 - In the De Haar stream valley, near Assen, Johan de Putter is working on behalf of WaterFocus, together with Aveco de Bondt, Hunze en Aa’s water board, the municipality of Assen and the Central Government Real Estate Agency (RVB) on the redesign of the Witterdiep and the accompanying stream valley. We set up the stream according to KRW requirements, realize a minimum of 30,000 m3 of water storage, so that we limit flooding downstream and in the municipality of Assen. The RVB (owner and manager of a large part of the stream valley) strives for the restoration of the landscape, cultural history and ecology.
The Witterdiep will soon be able to leave its banks at a number of locations a few days a year. The stream will again flow in a natural way on the historic site and the soil will be raised so that the stream extracts less seepage for a positive development of nature. The cultural-historical design of the brook valley with its characteristic stream oriented cross walls is preserved and is reinforced where possible. All measures have been designed so that agriculture will not be adversely affected.
On Tuesday, January 14, we presented the VO to all stakeholders and interested parties. It is wonderful to bring all interests together and to jointly arrive at an establishment that makes the area even more beautiful and safer.
Landscape with cross walls in Witterdiep - Drentse Aa (Photo: Johan de Putter)
October 2019 - In the spring of 2018, there was a request for secondment services from De Stichtse Rijnlanden Water Board (HDSR). A combination of 8 parties has registered for this under the name Waterbond. Cooperative WaterFocus is one of the 8 parties.
The registration with Waterbond was successful. In May 2018, a framework agreement was concluded between HDSR and Waterbond for 6 of the 9 plots for the duration of 4 years with the possibility of an extension. The 6 plots on which Waterbond is included in the framework contract are: project management, technical management, contract management, project support, enforcement, specialist support of water quantity and quality. The coordinator for Waterbond is Tauw.
In the past 1½ years there have been many further inquiries as you may have noticed. Joke Nijburg (chairman of WaterFocus) sends the requests to all members of both WaterFocus and Waterforce. Waterbond is doing very well within the framework contract. Of the 49 Further Agreements (NOK), more than 40% of the assignments were scored by Waterbond. There are currently around 20 Waterbond members working at HDSR. If you would like further information, please contact Joke Nijburg (first point of contact) or Johan de Putter (back-up).
Interview Joke Nijburg (chairman cWF in Stadswerk magazine
Augustus 2019 - Stadswerk is a magazine for professionals in the field of the living environment. The interview is included in the extra Special on water and sewer system (in Dutch language).
Sittard, The Netherlands
July 2016 - The waterboard Roer en Overmaas has asked WaterFocus to re-assess the flood probabilities for the river Geleenbeek in The Netherlands. The project involves detailed hydrological and hydraulic modeling using the SOBEK software by Deltares and a statistical analysis of extreme values. Before the assessment can be carried out, recent urban and rural developments need to be implemented in the existing model schematizations. The project will be carried out during the summer of 2016.
Optimized pumping protocols in relation to Asset Management
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Juni 2016 - Our co-worker Bart den Ouden is currently working for the waterboard Fryslân in The Netherlands. He works on the optimization of pumping protocols in relation to Asset Management. The waterboard aims to reduce the operational expenses since the number of inhabitants in the region has decreased over the last decades. One way of achieving a cost reduction is by reducing the amount of assets. Currently the waterboard has approximately 1,000 operational pumping stations. In this study the waterboard is investigating wether certain areas could be combined and, as a result, a pumping station can be removed. The amount of cost reduction is being estimated by comparing the 'life cycle costs' between a situation where the existing pumping stations are simply being replaced and a situation where they are being reduced by combining areas.
Integrated Catchment Management in Lesotho
December 2015 – The Ministry of Water in Lesotho wants to have Integrated Catchment Management generally accepted to counteract the very serious erosion in the country, to increase water productivity, and restore ecosystems. The EU funds a mission to develop a plan with an expert on IWRM and GIS, and an institutional expert. WaterFocus works together with the lead partner Agreco in Lesotho. The first week of work in Lesotho is already completed and Ebel Smidt, Johan Berkhout and a third partner work hard on the inception phase.
Abu Dhabi Groundwater Monitoring
November 2015 - Ebel Smidt works under WaterFocus as a senior liaison with the customer. He will also guide mediors and juniors of the sponsor in three missions of one week each.
Kick-off meeting Ghana project
October 2015 - In October Joke van Dijk and Margo Meeuwissen were at the kick-off meeting of the Ghana project, Bola Bondeh (‘goede shit’). Ghana is the fastest growing economy in West Africa with a rapidly increasing middle class.
Inequality exists next to each other: Western shopping malls right next to people who live on the garbage dump. Near such a garbage dump is the current discharge point of black waste water. Tankers arrive here, back up towards the sea, and discharge the contents of the septic tanks in the sea. The picture of Google shows what this looks like.
Photo: Google Maps, Discharge location in Accra (yellow circled)
The municipality wants to change this state of affairs, working together with Cooperative WaterFocus. Dutch and Ghanaian parties including the municipality of Accra plan to improve waste-water collection, purification and making compost from the solid material. This compost is to be distributed in particular at small horticultural companies that are spread across the capital.
In the project Joke is responsible for improved collection of waste water. She will be working with the drivers of suction trucks, on the sanitation situation in the working-class quarter Jamestown, the separation of urine and arranging extra organic material to enrich the compost. Margo is project manager.
Water Emissions Trading
reach emission targets at lowest possible cost
May 5, 2015 – Michiel Wind (member of WaterFocus Cooperative) wrote a project concept for Water Emissions Trading (WET).
In spite of several EU-directives and costly measures taken, water quality targets will not be met in many water bodies. Water Emissions Trading (WET) is the policy instrument of emissions trading applied to discharges to water. If dischargers reduce emissions, they can sell surplus permits, and use the revenues to pay for the reduction measures. Buyers can avoid taking too costly reduction measures. In this way everybody saves money, while the overall reduction target is reached. In the USA and elsewhere it is acknowledged that. Download the full project concept description
April 20, 2015 - Together with Clingendael and UNESCO-IHE, WaterFocus organizes the course 'Water management training for civil servants', for officials from the Arab region. This training is part of the Matra-South program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the aim of stimulating activities focused on the transition to democracy.
The first training week was in April, with 25 participants from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. Partners of WaterFocus took part in an expert carousel, and shared their knowledge and experience.
In the first week of June, two WaterFocus members will go to Morocco to lead a session on project management and process water management: a water case study. After an evaluation, it is intended that this fortnight training will be given every year in the coming three years.
Support project for small-scale and micro irrigation in Ethiopia
Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
April 15, 2015 – In January this year WaterFocus member Bob Pengel left for Ethiopia, as International Regional Team leader in the Amhara region.
The project 'Small Scale and Micro Irrigation Support Project' (SMIS, www.smis-ethiopia.org), is a bilateral (Dutch and Canadian funded) project, with the main contractor Agriteam Canada Consulting (www.agriteam.ca). There is a central, Federal Office in Addis Ababa and four regional project offices in Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations and Tigray.
At this moment Bob Pengel lives and works in Bahir Dar, on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. Amhara has a population of about 20 million on an area of about 4 times Netherlands, 110 persons per km2, the majority depending on dryland/rain-fed small-scale agriculture. Amhara has a monsoon climate, and the SMIS project supports the Government of Ethiopia in rolling out small-scale irrigation and irrigation at household-level in order to increase food security and to increase the commercial agricultural production. SMIS provides capacity building / training, and does not build irrigation infra-structure.
After a hectic start the project is now up and running. In the first weeks all local staff had to be recruited, offices found and furnished, and the entire IT infrastructure had to be set up. At this moment the inception fase has started. The annual plan for the first year should be established and agreed, during election time – that is even more exciting. To conclude: the team members are very competent and pleasant as colleagues, and up to now it is great working and living in Ethiopia!
For more information: download the SMIS brochure.
WaterFocus project in Yemen
April 2015, last year WaterFocus member Albert van Dijk did a project for the Dutch Embassy in Yemen. The purpose was a basis for development plans and projects in the Tihama Basin. Because of the instable situation in the country, the planned mission was transformed into a desk study. The existing knowledge of the country of Albert van Dijk and his partner, and use of internet, was sufficient to collect the necessary information and deliver the report 'Publish or perish’.
Abu Dhabi desert dunes suitable for underground water storage
March, 2015 - In 2014 WaterFocus cooperative (cWF) and ISEC, it's Abu Dhabi partner, finalized a study concerning water quality issues of the world's largest strategic underground storage of desalinated water. The study has been executed in very intensive and good cooperation with KWR Watercycle Research Institute, who provided special hydrochemical knowledge. This type of cooperation between a SME as cWF and a research institute like KWR is a good example of how cWF can serve clients. More details on the project can be found via this link.
International Network of River Basin Organisations
November 12 – 15, 2014 - Joke van Dijk (partner of cooperative WaterFocus) and Steven Visser (Association WaterForce) have participated and spoken on the International Network of River Basin Organisations Water Framework Directive (WFD) conference in Bucharest, in November 2014.
Joke van Dijk presented the results of a recently finished project for the Romanian water authority, Apele Romane. The project was about compliance with the cost recovery principle, related to flood protection, as described in article 9 of the Water Framework Directive (applicable for all water services). A financial model was delivered together with recommendations for a multi level governance approach needed for a successful implementation. The so called Dutch ''waterschapsmodel'' for organising public water management, was taken as example (but not a blueprint) for the Romanian setting.
The cost recovery method is also interesting for other member states, as cost recovery is still often missing for water services other than the delivery of drinking water and the treatment of waste water.
Steven Visser presented, together with Peter Philipsen, the Rhine-West Roadmap for Fish Migration. This roadmap complements the (inter)national Master Plan for fish migration (ICPR) which focuses on national waters. The roadmap highlights the importance of connecting the highways (national waters) to the regional roads (waters) regarding fish migration. The roadmap planning method makes good use of regional fish expert knowledge. It easily identifies obstacles to fish migration, and enables selecting and prioritizing of successful measures. The Roadmap method is relevant to the restoration of all migratory fish, particularly in regards to the EU Eel Directive. Eel is a critically endangered fish species, which needs to have access to regional waters to fulfil its life cycle. The roadmap method can be used to produce a joint River Basin Roadmap for Fish Migration. This project has learned that the subject of fish migration is an easy way of communicating the successes of the WFD process.
ICT Proposers’ Day 2014
October 9 – 10, 2014 - WaterFocus was present at the ICT Proposers’ Day 2014 event in Florence to build on quality partnerships and connect with academia, research institutes, industrial stakeholders, SMEs and government actors from all over Europe. WaterFocus was there as Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) offering its expertise in state of the art water management and as experienced EU project consortium partner, see link.
This event, organised by the European Commission, was specifically dedicated to networking and promoting research and innovation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies. The event focused on networking for the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2015.
New projects by Cooperative WaterFocus (CWF)
June 30, 2014 - Two members of WaterFocus (CWF) prepared a roadmap to improve water quality of a moat (ditch around a castle). Based on the results of dredging, the client will be guided and advised in next steps towards cleaner waters.
In Abu Dhabi, WaterFocus also carries out a water quality study. This involves groundwater quality in an infiltration project. Main contractor is our Abu Dhabi partner ISEC. WaterFocus represents the Dutch group consisting of CWF, KWR and Acacia. WaterFocus provides knowledge of infiltration systems, groundwater management in semi-arid regions, and project management.
In addition to these projects, we have sent out for about one million euro's in tenders.
WaterFocus provides experts for Dutch Disaster Reduction Team
June 19, 2014 – “Reducing the risk of water related disasters. Many countries around the world face severe water threats. Often, these countries are in urgent need of expert advice on how to prevent a disaster or how to recover from a calamity. For instance, when a country has been struck by severe floodings and the first emergency relief workers have gone, the need for advise on how to build a sustainable and safer water future arises. To meet these needs with a swift response, the Dutch government has initiated the Dutch Risk Reduction Team (DRR Team). This team of experts advises governments on how to resolve urgent water issues related to flood risks, water pollution and water supply, to prevent disasters or to rebuild after water related disasters.” (published at www.drrteam.nl) WaterFocus experts are selected for this pool of experts and one of them, Rens Verstappen, is selected as team leader. You want to know more? Look at www.dutchwatersector.com/drr/
Waterdays in Slovenia en Croatia
March 7, 2014 - One of the WaterFocus members, mrs Joke van Dijk, recently participated in the EU Waterdays that took place in Slovenia and Croatia. Both days were organized in cooperation with the Dutch embassies, the Chambers of Commerce and local authorities on the national level. About 15 Dutch companies could present themselves during these days. At the time of the mission, the flooding of the local rivers due to heavy rainfall was an evident threat - illustrative when it comes to water management issues.
Slovenia, Croatia and the Netherlands have developed a strong connection over the years and this can be the basis for further cooperation. As newcomers in the EU, a lot of funds for Slovenian and Croatian water supply management will be drawn from the European 2014-2020 budget.
More and more freelancers work together
January 4, 2014 – An article in the Dutch newspaper ‘de Volkskrant’ of Saturday in which the cooperative WaterFocus is mentioned in the last article. Download the full article (Dutch).
Participation in Trade Mission Palestina and Israel
December 6 – 9, 2013 – The chairman of WaterFocus, mr. Ebel Smidt participated in a Dutch trade mission to Palestine and Israel. The mission was assisted by Prime Minister mr. Rutte, the Minister of Foreign Affairs mr. Timmermans and the Minister of International Trade and Aid mrs Ploumen. For WaterFocus the primary goal was extension of the network in Palestine due to existing projects in which members participate. The broad and in-depth knowledge and experience and the organizational concept of WaterFocus has attracted interest from the Palestinian private and public sector. Resulting project ideas and opportunities are being elaborated in 2014. These projects are not limited to Palestine, but include transboundary water management and entries to the Arab markets.
WaterFocus press release
September 18, 2013 – During a ceremony in Bunnik, the Netherlands, a group of independent water professionals and the Nedworc Foundation celebrated the launch of the WaterFocus Cooperative.
WaterFocus unites the experience, knowledge and strengths of some forty independent professionals and focuses it on delta technology, drinking water supply, water chain management, water management and water governance in the Netherlands and abroad. The innovative and entrepreneurial strengths of WaterFocus can be used to support existing projects and challenges, as well as on new developments and initiatives in the sector.
This new partnership gives clients easy access to teams of experienced independent professionals.
the Nedworc Foundation provides the required professional administrative and organizational support, giving WaterFocus a flying start.
WaterFocus not only facilitates easier access of clients to independent professionals, but also to creates new opportunities for the professionals themselves. In collaboration with the Nedworc Foundation, WaterFocus members can participate in larger tenders and assignments. In this way optimal use can be made of their experience, skills, expertise, enthusiasm, sense of quality, flexibility and perseverance, all with the advantages of a large established company.
Existing clients and new initiatives
The prime focus of WaterFocus is to provide enhanced support for the clients of individual members through a more comprehensive range of services. These clients include the Dutch water authorities, provinces, municipalities, water supply companies and Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) in the Netherlands. International clients include: financial institutions, governments, consultancy firms, NGOs and international cooperation, development and innovation programmes.
Recently WaterFocus successfully registered as an expert pool of one of the Dutch water boards.
WaterFocus offers added value through multidisciplinary teams, combining national and international knowledge and expertise. Experience from the Netherlands can be exported and implemented abroad, while insights from abroad can be applied in the Netherlands.
WaterFocus is considering the development of services that enable the exchange of experience between young and experienced professionals. The Young Expert Programme of the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) could be a basis for this approach.
Your first contact with WaterFocus is with one of the coordinators:
Photos Founding meeting WaterFocus 18 September 2013 in Bunnik, the Netherlands