Some high-tech solutions may not look high-tech. In fact, they may look like just part of the ecosystem, such as the Sand Engine (or Sand Motor), willow trees in front of the dike at Noordwaard, oyster reefs in front of many of delta dikes, and planting forests that feature an intricate web of underwater roots that build soil and store organic matter.
The Sand Engine, a large volume of dredged sand added to the coast of South Holland at Ter Heijde in 2011, is a prime example of how the Dutch build with nature to prevent flooding.
It consists of 21.5 million cubic meters of sand that created 10,000 acres of land for nature and recreation. Sea currents and wind will continually change the Sand Engine, and eventually become fully incorporated into the landscape, creating 3,500 acres of new beach and dunes.
As a result, the coast will be broader and safer against rising sea levels. Scientists will also monitor the evolution of the Sand Engine to determine if the technology can be applied elsewhere in the Netherlands and around the world.
Watch this video about the Sand Engine.