The challenge

The brook “Middelsgraaf” is located in Limburg, a Dutch province in the South-East of The Netherlands. The Middelsgraaf was originally a drainage ditch, and was dug in the 14 century for the drainage of peatlands. In 2016, The Water Authority of Limburg started with the redevelopment of the brook, so that its original character would be restored and the fish migration will be stimulated. Finally, the drought of the adjacent nature and agricultural areas and the risk of water trouble will be reduced.

The case

Despite the favourable effects of the redevelopment of the brook Middelsgraaf, there are also less desirable effects for the agricultural fields in the area. Our client argued that his agricultural fields will be subject to water trouble as a result of the redevelopment of the brook and the flaws in the hydrological analysis that support the redevelopment plan. This means that the quality of the agricultural fields of our client will deteriorate over time, which will eventually lead to a loss of income. Therefore, our client has objected to various permits that have been applied for or issued by, the involved authorities. After years of negotiation, our client eventually started an administrative procedure at the District Court of Limburg.

Our activities

Walhout Civil has been commissioned by our client to investigate the reliability and validity of the arithmetic substantiation of the studies, reports and modelling on the basis of which the redevelopment was made. The question that arose was to which extent there was a chance of adverse water trouble and water damage on the agricultural fields. The project had a complex history, in which the Water Authority and various advisory parties had conducted various studies in the past.

Walhout Civil has carried out a thorough review and analysis of all groundwater and surface water modelling, hydrological impact calculations and adjustments to the GGOR (Desired Soil and Surface Water Regime) and the AGOR (Current Soil and Surface Water Regime). The IBRAHYM model, Sobek (D-HYRO Suite) and various soil- and surface water datasets were used during the review and analysis. Based on the analysis, it was concluded that the reports were not valid and reliable. Because of this, our client is confronted with the risk of water damage to his agricultural fields.

Walhout Civil assisted our client and his lawyers in the preliminary injunction and the main proceeding at the Court of Limburg. During the course of the main proceeding, our client disputes the legality of the permits, granted for the redevelopment project. It is up to the judge to rule on this issue at hand. A summary of our activities:

  • Field research and on-site inspection
  • Assessment of the hydrological modelling and reports
  • Analysis of the water damage probability to agricultural fields
  • Drafting hydrological and legal advice
  • Expertise during the preliminary injunction and main proceeding