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Lecture

Jan 17 notes Dutch Hydraulic Engineering-Medieval Dutch Hydraulic Engineering, sublimation, hydraulic hypothesis, polders, technology fix vs. social fix


Department
Natural Science
Course Code
NATS 1840
Professor
Ian Slater

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NATS 1840 – Lecture 3 – Dutch Hydraulic Engineering
Medieval Dutch Hydraulic Engineering
- European rainfall, thick, wet soil, iron–shod plough and oxen
- Field rotation, crop, fallow, manure, population increase
- Horse-collar, increased horse population, cavalry, stirrups
Hydraulic Engineering in Holland
- Limited land for farming, starvation, disease and warfare
- Holland below sea level, hydraulic engineering to create farmland
- Drainage of marshland using canals
- Reciprocal effect: draining one area led to flooding in another, draining led to
lowering of land further below sea level
- Simple technological developments and unexpected consequences
Coordination and Control
- 13th century: dikes (embankments to hold in water), dams (blocking rivers),
sluices (canal with gates), and drainage canals
- 1100 and 1300 hundreds of dikes and dams
- Excluding external water meant more flooding
- Polders: units of land at the same water level with shared drainage system, labor
and capital intensive
- System of autonomous water boards, predated government
- No central co-ordination, taxes and public works local
- The water boards were responsible for: regular inspection of facilities,
recommending repair, supervising and organizing labour and materials, collecting
taxes, dispute resolution
- Management of problem, hydrological hypothesis, unintended consequences,
technological fix, environmental changes
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