Water awareness, behaviour and geo-politics in South- and Centraal Limburg: The Meuse Island Case

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Around Christmas 1993, many people in the South of the Netherlands were confronted with the highest water levels of the Meuse River in the 20th century. Even though many people considered their situation as safe before this shock event, the flood functioned as a wake-up call for inhabitants and authorities in the South of the Netherlands. For national and regional policymakers, it was absolutely clear: preventive measures had to be undertaken in order to prevent Limburg from another flood. Now, 20 years after the floods, the last water safety projects are designed in order to reach the aimed protection levels. However, the awareness of risks and the Limburgian landscape of water safety have not stood still in the past decades. In this study the case of the Meuse-Island is used to study how water awareness, water related behaviour and the Limburgian water safety landscape changed over the past decades. As this study argues, most people experience the presence of the Meuse River as a blessing. As a result of this positive attitude people tend to focus on the promotion of new opportunities. Since the water authorities mostly focus on the prevention of risks, some types of conflicts were observed.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen