ADB IHE Delft Knowledge Partnership
Asian Development Bank - IHE Delft

Successful 3rd Asia-Netherlands Water Learning Week

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and the Asian Development Bank organised the 3rd Asia-Netherlands Water Learning Week from 16 to 20 June 2014 in Delft, the Netherlands. The theme of this learning week was 'Green Growth and Water Security'.

The 3rd Asia-Netherlands Water Learning Week was attended by 44 participants from 9 Asian countries, including 7 ADB staff.  Moreover, an additional 15 participants attending the concluding Water Legislation Workshop at UNESCO-IHE, Delft, participated partly in the programme. Countries represented were Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam. Most participants expressed great satisfaction with the programme and the organisation of the learning week. The participants appreciated in particular the good combination of interactive lectures and field visits.  Many were motivated to adapt the new and innovative ideas they heard into their country specific water strategies and like to continue to interact with the Dutch counterparts. All delegations expressed their desire that their countries continue to participate in the next learning week. 


The learning week kicked off at a demo-nursery in Honselersdijk. All delegations attending this learning week joined this field visit to the demo-nursery in Honselersdijk, which is an innovation centre focused on applied science within horticulture. At this interesting location, the participants were shown how technical equipment enables farmers to control humidity, temperature, soil, light and fertilizer. Priva CEO Ms. Meiny Prins gave a presentation on green growth and social enterprising. She saw some comparisons between the Dutch and Asian horticulture. Although the Netherlands’ main horticultural region called ‘Westland’ is not considered to be an urban area, Prins stated that the Netherlands in fact does have urban horticulture. “Considering the small size and number of inhabitants, you could see the Netherlands as a big city rather than a country”, was her interesting point of view. 

Room for the River Project

This field visit was aimed to gain new insights on how to reduce flood risk. Representatives of the Municipality of Nijmegen, Rijkswaterstaat, Water Board Rivierenland and contractor Dura Vermeer all gave a presentation. The Room for the River project fitted perfectly in this year's theme, because it deals with both water security and green growth. Since the frequency and impacts of flooding are increasing on a global scale, with the world's population growth and the increase of socio-economic activities in flood-prone areas as key drivers, this issue is of relevance for many countries. And it requires innovative initiatives to deal with this issue. Therefore, case studies such as the Room for the River project are interesting for foreign delegations.

Wastewater treatment plant

The final day of the 3rd Asia-Netherlands Water Learning week started with a field visit to the wastewater treatment plant at the Harnaschpolder. After a warm welcome by the Vice Dikereef, a presentation was given on the role, tasks, governance and financing system of Water Board Delfland. The next speaker, Mr. Paul Oostdam of Delfluent, gave an introduction to the wastewater treatment plant Harnaschpolder project. Moreover, he gave more information on PPS financing constructions. Afterwards, Oostdam also led the actual field visit to the Harnaschpolder, where the learning week participants could see how the wastewater treatment plant functions. 

Main outcomes

The participants highlighted that their key learning during the week was in getting a better understanding of the value of collaboration and coordination among and between government agencies, people, private sector and institutes in the design, planning and implementation of large infrastructural works. Participants to the 3rd Asia-Netherlands Water Learning Week were also largely interested in water governance and in particular water legislation, when they were briefed on the outcomes of the Water legislation Workshop.

Final report