While the Netherlands is the best protected delta in the world, climate change will bring unpredictable weather and untold natural disasters. So the Netherlands must continue to innovate and test the defenses in place to ensure the safety of its nearly 17 million people.
To that end, the Deltares Research Institute has built the Delta Flume, a $29 million wave machine near the city of Delft. The machine holds more than 2 million gallons of water pumped in from a reservoir at roughly 265 gallons per second.
It generates waves by pushing water back and forth against a wall that’s nearly 33 feet high. Waves can be produced to mimic anything from rough waters to tsunamis. By generating choppy waters, enormous waves and the like, scientists hope to better test standards for dikes, dunes, dams and barriers designed to defend the land from flooding.