Committed to the Water Vision for Europe by initiating, supporting and enhancing initiatives and projects, giving water a common voice in Europe.
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Mar 9th, 2010 | No Comments, Leave one!

My name is Mathijs Mul, I am 16 years old and I live in the Netherlands. I am interested in water-related problems, which have become increasingly more pressing throughout the past few years. When adressing major water-related issues, I think it is very important to integrate, to combine and to connect knowledge and skills from different fields.

I also believe that the involvement of young people is an essential aspect of a good and useful discussion: because solving water-related problems will be one of tomorrow’s top priorities, it will be one of our main responsibilities.

Together with Marieke Droogsma I have designed the AquaLibra, a water barrier that functions fully automatically . In 2009 we won the Dutch preliminary competition for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. We attended the World Water Week in Stockholm, where we learnt a lot about water problems and about the way experts think such challenges have to be adressed.

I will briefly explain the principle of the AquaLibra. This short trailer will first give you an impression of the AquaLibra concept:

Because of the sea level rise, the probability of  floods increases year by year, which is why water barriers become more and more important. But most of these structures have to be regulated by human decision-making or computer programs, with a consequently high probability of  failure. This follows from the fact that people make mistakes and that computer sensors are vulnerable, especially during a storm . Therefore, a reliable water barrier is needed, which does not spend energy and which operates fully automatically, thus reducing  failure chances to a level that guarantees the safety of humans and their nature.

The presented AquaLibra regulates itself and does not require external energy supply. It adapts itself to specific circumstances.

The AquaLibra is a water barrier that is activated when the sea reaches a dangerous level and could possibly cause flooding close to a river mouth. As soon as the seawater level rises above a critical level a strong averting door is lifted and stops the seawater from flowing into the river or a harbour. Through a balance construction the weight of the sea water is used to activate the actual barrier.

Operation of the AquaLibra does not require external energy supply, in contrast to most current water barriers. A very important advantage of the AquaLibra is the fact that no people or computer systems  are necessary to decide whether the AquaLibra will be activated or not. This makes the AquaLibra much more reliable than other water barriers.

Rather than a specific construction, the AquaLibra is a design concept that could be widely adopted. The AquaLibra could be used on small scale, but on large scale as well. Possible applications range from small tidal harbours to large cities in delta regions.

Our study shows that this revolutionary water barrier system offers benefits over other water barriers. The most important point is, of course, the fact that the AquaLibra regulates itself without using any energy. Therefore it is an extremely reliable water barrier. AquaLibra: the solution for the future.

Mathijs Mul

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