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Climate change affects 2 Seas Region

Climate change has been affecting countries in the 2 Seas Region (Belgium, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and France) more severely than expected. The frequency and intensity of extreme weather conditions that induce storm-surges along the coast and river discharges that threaten the integrity of flood defences is increasing. Humans have attempted to conquer the problems of changing water levels for thousands of years. One of the oldest weapons they’ve wielded against the rivers and oceans is the levee, also known as a dike.

Levee as flood defence

A levee is simply a man-made embankment built to keep a river from overflowing its banks or to prevent ocean waves from washing into undesired areas. But are these flood defences safe enough? In the past, levees failed due to insufficient planning, riskier designs, poor maintenance or insufficient funds. Nowadays, most of the levee systems rely on the understanding that levees require regular maintenance, constant monitoring and a long-term appreciation for how rivers, oceans and storms behave. When these are in place, communities can thrive safely alongside the beauty and convenience of coastal and riverside areas.

Levee Challenge

The Polder2C’s project offers a rare opportunity to test and improve flood resilience by improving climate change adaptation capacity on a strategic, tactical and operational level. The “Levee Challenge” is an event comprised of two challenges whose main objective is to promote the creativity of university MSc and PhD students and to get them interested in technical training and civil, hydraulic and geotechnical engineering through project work as a team.

There are two categories in which teams can participate: 

  1. the physical challenge
  2. the virtual challenge (coming soon)

Both categories differ in goal, prizes and evaluation.

The Physical Challenge

During the physical challenge, groups of students from partner institutes are asked to repair a damaged levee (2 m wide) in the Hedwige-Prosper polder as well and efficiently as possible with surface protection measures. The levee will be damaged during large-scale steady overflow tests taking place between November 2020 and March 2021. The reparation of the levee will then take place between February and March 2021 and needs to be sufficient to withstand new overflow tests.

Who can participate?

All MSc students of university education are welcome to form a team and participate. Each team consists of four to six students and a responsible instructor. You choose your own team name and team leader. This team leader will also be the contact person with the Levee Challenge Team. For the physical challenge the capacity is restricted to 4 or 5 groups of students.


Zoetenberm 27, 9130 Beveren

Bird view Hedwige Prosperpolder

Photo: Hedwige-Prosperpolder. Copyright Vilda - Yves Adams

Registration for the Levee Challenge

Are you interested to take part in the Levee Challenge? This is what your team needs to prepare:

  • A Motivation Letter:
    Think of a possible solution for a levee reparation, damaged by steady overflow loading tests. 
    Describe your team’s motivation to participate in the physical challenge in a document and also make a clear outline of how you will tackle this challenge. 

Have you formed a team and prepared your motivation file? Send it in by email to Make sure to include the following information in your email:

  • Name and surname
  • Affiliation of the institute (university)
  • Address
  • Postal code
  • City
  • Country
  • e-mail
  • Amount of team members (4-6)
  • Name of team members
  • Team name
  • Name of team leader
  • Contact person (staff member)
  • Attach Motivation Letter  

The deadline for submission is Sunday 25 October 2020.

We select the best entries. Are you in the selection, then you may repair your own levee with your team members.