Dry is getting drier and wet is getting wetter. Put simply, these are the changes affecting people and nature as a consequence of climate change. In urban areas, this means that disruption sometimes consists of flooded streets and cellars due to intense rainstorms. Due to the water table rising too quickly or too high, there is also a heightened chance of overflows where rainwater is discharged directly to surface water via the sewer system.

The municipality of Amsterdam and Waternet have set up the ‘Amsterdam Rainproof’ platform with the aim of increasing Amsterdam’s resilience to increasingly frequent rainstorms. Amongst other things, Waternet is responsible for the circulation of rain and waste water in Amsterdam.

Making the city more climate-resistant was also one of the challenges facing the ‘Accommodation of special groups’ project in Amsterdam. In this project, Iv-Infra provided the engineering to develop several locations within the city limits to make them suitable for construction and accommodation for a maximum period of 10 years. Each location is a project in itself, in which Iv-Infra fine-tunes the designs with the municipality, utility companies, housing corporations, the building contractor constructing the temporary residences and the civil contractor responsible for the layout of its public spaces.


Project location

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In addition to making the city ‘rainproof’, Amsterdam is also committed to sustainability. The underground system therefore also had to be produced sustainably and be fully re-usable after a 10-year period; cradle to cradle. The Rockflow water management system suited these requirements perfectly. The basis of the system consists of stone wool elements with a very high capacity to absorb and store water. Stone wool is a natural material made from basalt and is sustainably manufactured. It is also fully recyclable.

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The major advantage compared to traditional plastic or concrete crate systems is that the Rockflow system can be easily adapted. And if, for example in the future, it is decided that a hole needs to be excavated for a tree to be planted in the centre of the inner garden, which is the location of the storage system, it will not pose any problem. Even though some of the stone wool will have to be removed, the system as a whole will remain intact, albeit with reduced capacity. Cables can also run through it, should that be necessary. With a crate system, this would result in leakage, run-off and eventual subsidence as a consequence. It is a robust and future-proof solution, regardless of current and future plans. The Rockflow elements are lightweight and easy to install. Despite the fact that the elements are lightweight, with the right ground cover they can withstand heavy loads. At the ‘Kruislaan’ location, an inner garden is being created above the stone wool elements. Heavy loads do not occur here, so a ground cover layer of 30 to 50 cm in thickness will suffice.