The weir complexes on the Nederrijn and Lek rivers are 50 years old and will undergo a major renovation. Replacing technical installations and moving systems, as well as introducing Remote Operation, will ensure that the weir complexes can continue to perform their important work safely and reliably in the years to come. The weir at Driel is known as 'the tap of the Netherlands'. It distributes the water that flows in from the Rhine between the rivers, which also ensures that enough fresh water continues to flow into the IJsselmeer. The IJsselmeer is the largest freshwater basin in the Netherlands and is essential to the provision of potable water.
Weir complexes were built between 1960 and 1970 at Hagestein, Driel and Amerongen to regulate the water discharge of the various rivers in the northern part of the Netherlands and keep the water level of the Nederrijn river constant. If too much water is discharged by the Rhine, the weirs are opened and the water can flow to the sea at a much faster pace.
The weirs are semi-circular visor weirs with a width clearance of 50 meters and a height of about nine meters. Every complex also has a lock that allows ships to pass when the weirs are closed. The weirs in the Nederrijn and Lek rivers present a major obstacle for fish. They completely block the river. For this reason a fish way was built alongside the weirs. The fish way allows salmon and sea trout to reach their spawning grounds via the Lek and Nederrijn rivers.
Waterways are important for the Netherlands. No other country has such a dense network of waterways, which stretches over 5000 kilometers. They form a complete water system. The Dutch authorities are making great efforts to modernize this important part of the traffic infrastructure, using the latest technology, and to make water transport operations run more smoothly and efficiently. To ensure safe round-the-clock operations, several weirs and locks will now be linked up technically and controlled and monitored centrally. On-site camera systems and video panels in the control rooms ensure that operators have a direct view of the situation at the lock systems.