70% of the Dutch population lives below sea level. That is one of the main reasons the Netherlands has such a huge expertise in flood control and clean water. Moreover, they have been contributing and collaborating in water-related issues around the world in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. One of many fruitful collaborations to mention is certainly the one between Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) and the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) which started over 15 years ago. In this concrete, problem-oriented cooperation between the two countries, twinning has become an important ingredient to learn mutually from both parties (Image 1).
One of the important recent emerging problems they are trying to tackle are toxic algal blooms, occurring more often and more intense in diverse waterbodies as an effect to climate change. Algal blooms endanger human health, the environment and economies for which urgent alerts are of essence. Traditional techniques might fall short in fast alerts due to the time delay in sample analysis. Application of recent technology with fast alerting sensors definitely help in managing the emerged problems. Since China showed impressive willingness to try out innovations, our imaging flow cytometer CytoSense will be simultaneously used in Dutch and Chinese waters to monitoring algal composition as explained in the following paragraph by Gerard de Vries, (programe manager of the Netherlands-China collaboration at Rijkswaterstraat, NL).
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