UNDERSTANDING THE TRADE-OFF BETWEEN ECOLOGY AND DISCHARGE CAPACITY
How can Waterschap Aa en Maas optimize vegetation management?
The Aa en Maas Water Board is responsible for the management and maintenance of thousands of kilometres of watercourse. An important consideration is when and how often to cut the grass and other vegetation on the channels’ banks. The client needed more insight into the current state of vegetation and the effects of mowing on both its ecological objectives and drainage capacity.
In partnership with hydrologists, management and maintenance experts, policy staff, ecologists and area managers, we started working with the available data. Intensive conversations with domain experts confirmed the specifications for the first Solution Design phase. We also determined the technical feasibility by documenting the data required and its quality.
Together with the people involved in the Aa and Maas data lab, we developed a Proof of Concept to estimate actual impacts caused by vegetation. This involved information about water levels, flows, weather data, geo data and time, together with other sources. The resulting tool monitors the effect of a mowing operation in the summer: the first step in optimizing mowing management.
Above is a visualization of total water levels (light gray) and level of vegetation (dark blue) in 2015 on a trajectory with 10 weirs (from top to bottom). The influence of vegetation and mowing is clearly visible upstream.
“The tool allows you to monitor the effect of a mowing operation in the summer”
The results of the tool provide transparent insights to establish a clear balance between different, and sometimes conflicting, policy goals.