Overseas Internship Experience at Nelen & Schuurmans

14 February 2022

Cheng Wei, January 31st 2022 – It is my honor to acquire the opportunity to work as an intern at Nelen & Schuurmans in the Netherlands via the “Overseas Internship Program” from the Ministry of Education, Taiwan.

Nelen & Schuurmans is an innovative technology company specializing in water management and IT software services. Their mission is contributing to a healthy, safe and resilient environment in close cooperation with customers in the private and public sector across the globe. They achieve the goal by making the best information available to decision makers using the IT and consulting services in the company.

Two IT services are provided ; one is Lizard, and the other is 3DiLizard is a data warehouse and analytics platform for the physical environment. And for hydrodynamic modelling services are provided with 3Di. On the the consultancy side is focusing on specific topics: urban water, climate adaptation, operational water management, flood risk and water & agriculture. Last but not least Nelen & Schuurmans is also actively involved in Taiwan under the name Frog Technology.

During my internship period, the topic of my research is “Hydrodynamical Modelling and Soil Erosion Risk Maps in Shihmen Reservoir Watershed, Taiwan”.

Due to the unique geographical environment of Taiwan, which is located at the junction of tectonic plates and on the passing routes of typhoons, natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons have become a common occurrence, and the impact of subsequent earthquakes and floods is also significant, so post-disaster risk assessment is of great importance.

In addition, from the past experience of conducting a research in “College Student Research Project” host by Ministry of Science and Technology to this overseas internship, hazard potential and risk assessment under the impact of natural disasters has always been an issue of interest to me. I am very fortunate and grateful to have the opportunity to receive assistance from many people to complete this internship project.

In this internship project, Shihmen reservoir watershed, northern Taiwan is chosen as the research area in this study. In terms of the hydrodynamics model, we would like to use 3Di to simulate Typhoon Aere in 2004 to investigate the influence of severe typhoon events due to the significant role of sediment production of the study area.

These areas will be determined based on soil parameters, bed coverage and land use in combination with velocity fields from 3Di. Based on these parameters an erosion risk map is derived with indications, e.g. very high, high, medium and low risk, and it considers the spatial distributions of bed shear stress as a risk indicator to evaluate the effect of soil erosion after the typhoon event.

Our study indicates that most areas of Shihmen reservoir watershed are under moderate or high-risk level of soil erosion in the case, while few areas in hillslope or lowland region would suffer very-high-risk and low-risk level of soil erosion hazard. The map provides an evaluation reference for decision making, when it comes to such typhoon events in the future. It is a valuable reference for the reservoir authority to plan future soil conservation engineering as well.

Figure 1: Maps of bed shear stress and selected values over critical shear stress, which can be regarded as a soil erosion risk indicator to show the erosion hazard potential

Figure 2: Soil erosion risk map of Shihmen reservoir watershed after Typhoon Aere in 2004 based on risk level classification

It was a worthwhile opportunity to have an internship in the Netherlands, a country with a strong professional knowledge background of water environment issues. However, because of the impact of the current covid-19 period, it was challenging for me to quickly master software tools during the internship period, and gain the ability to revise the research results and analysis. But fortunately, there were many people who helped me along the way, if not for the enthusiastic and patient colleagues at Nelen & Schuurmans, my supervisor, Professor Gene Jiing-Yun You, and others who I had contacted via emails, online meetings, or personally consulted with other universities or research institutes in the Netherlands, such as TU Delft, University of Twente, Utrecht University and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Thanks to all of my colleagues and professional scholars who were willing to answer my questions. I would not be able to successfully accomplish this internship project in the era of the covid epidemic without the help from all of them. It is grateful to efficiently achieve the original purpose of the internship research project and add a meaningful record to my life history.

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