Eastern Scheldt Inlet Morphodynamics

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In the south-western part of the Netherlands, the system of estuaries, tidal basins and islands called the Delta, has been shaped and studied by humans for centuries. By far the largest event that determined its current configuration was the storm surge that occurred in 1953. This giant flooding gave rise to one of the largest engineering programs in the world: the Delta Plan. The aim of this plan was to ensure safety against flooding, while at the same time allow for other utilisations of the Delta. This system of dams, barriers and sluices has had, and is still having a strong effect on the morphology of the Delta coast and basins, especially the Eastern Scheldt tidal basin. The objective of this research is to gain understanding of the mechanisms that govern the exchange of sediment between the Eastern Scheldt basin and its ebb-tidal delta, and the effects of human interventions on these mechanisms. In order to gain better understanding of the processes determining the morphology of the Eastern Scheldt inlet, analysis of bathymetric and hydraulic data is combined with process-based numerical modelling. From this study on the Eastern Scheldt and its surroundings, it has become clear that the Eastern Scheldt is a basin that has been shaped strongly by a multitude of human interventions throughout the past few centuries. It will also take in the order of centuries before the morphological effects of these interventions will have levelled out.