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Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure

René Kolman, Polite Laboyrie

Implementation of water infrastructure involving dredging, such as port development, river deepening, canalisation, flood defence measures and reclamations, has traditionally been an essential activity in civilisation’s development and prosperity. With the excavation of material from the sea, river or lake bed and its relocation elsewhere, dredging is an environmental impact.

Dredging is a recognised, useful tool for remedying historic environmental interferences, such as contaminated sediments resulting from industrial discharges. More recent approaches look beyond the scope of isolated dredging activities and embrace a wider context, by considering water infrastructure development projects as an opportunity to also add value to the (natural and socio-economic) system and achieve more sustainable projects.

In the past 10-15 years, the dredging community has embraced this and the approach has become proactive. Water infrastructure projects are considered as part of the natural and socio-economic system in which they are situated, and stakeholders are engaged much earlier in the project development process to create added value.

This has an influence on the initiation, planning and design, execution and maintenance of water infrastructure projects. A wide range of professionals have collected and integrateed their experiences and best practices into the IADC-CEDA book Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure.

KEYWORDS: Dredging, Sustainability, Environment, Water Infrastructure, Stakeholders


René Kolman is Secretary General of the International Association of Dredging Companies, the umbrella organisation for the world-wide private dredging industry. Mr. Kolman studied at the Nautical School in Rotterdam and holds a degree in Economics from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Before coming to IADC, Mr. Kolman was Deputy Managing Director of the Dutch Landscaping Contractors Association. As Secretary General, Mr. Kolman takes a leading role in promoting the industry’s long-standing commitment to environment and sustainability.

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