High level warning issued along Dutch rivers after 2018 storms

Storm surge gate HollandseIJsselkering shut to shipping traffic
The towers of the storm surge gate HollandseIJsselkering were lit red to signify it was inaccessible to shipping traffic. January 3, 2018.photo: Rijkswaterstaat/ RWS West NL Zuid / Twitter

Infrastructure agency Rijkswaterstaat and the local water boards are preparing themselves for a flood peak along the Rhine river following the heavy storm on January 3 and more inclement weather the day after.

The water level of the Rhine in Lobith, Gelderland, where the river forms part of the border between the Netherlands and Germany, were at 14 meters above sea level Monday morning, with the expectation that it will rise upwards of 14.65 meters by Tuesday evening. According to Rijkswaterstraat that level was reached only once in the past five years. Normally at this time of the year the water level in Lobith is roughly 12 meters above sea level.

Some 6.5 million liters of water are flowing into the Netherlands at Lobith, but while heavy, it is no reason to panic, according to the Rijkswaterstaat. "We can control these water levels just fine", said coordinator Harold van Waaren. He added that it likely would not be a problem even if double the amount of water poured into the Netherlands at that point. That is thanks to the series of locks, dykes, and dams that make up water management, and the infrastructure plan implemented over many years.

This causes the water level of the Rhine and its tributaries to rise at a slower pace. Rijkswaterstaat noted the use of the side channel along the Waal river in Nijmegen has been implemented for the first time due to the high water season this year. The water levels in the IJsselmeer and in the Markermeer should also drop in the next several days.

The water levels are continuously kept under observation by the Water Management Center in Lelystad.