Delta Programme 2016

The sixth Delta Programme (DP2016) was presented to the House of Representatives on Prinsjesdag 2015, the state opening of Parliament in September, along with the Delta Fund budget.

Dutch coast, with sea, beach and polders

From policy development to implementation

The Delta Decisions lead to a new way of working in three areas: flood risk management, the freshwater supply, and water-robust spatial design. The presentation of the proposals for the Delta Decisions and preferential strategies (Prinsjesdag 2014) marked the start of a new phase for the Delta Programme: the elaboration and implementation phase.

The sixth Delta Programme focuses on the progress made with respect to the implementation of the work on the delta: the (statutory) elaboration and the implementation of the Delta Decisions and preferential strategies.

Flood risk approach

In the Delta Programme 2015, the Delta Programme Commissioner proposed that a risk-based approach be applied in flood risk management policy. This means taking into account the probability of flooding as well as the ensuing consequences. He is also proposing new standards for flood defences. These new standards are aimed at reducing the probability of individual mortality due to floods anywhere in the Netherlands to a maximum of 1:100,000 per annum. A higher level of protection will apply at locations where many casualties or significant economic loss could occur, or where “vital infrastructure” could be disrupted with a far-reaching impact at the national level (for example, the gas hub in Groningen). The aim is for all primary flood defences to meet the new standards by 2050. The embedding of the new approach in law is on schedule. The Cabinet is expected to present an amendment to the law at the end of 2015, thus setting down the new standards.

Sufficient supply of freshwater

In the Netherlands, freshwater shortages may occur more often as water consumption rises and the climate changes. Some 15% to 20% of our economy is dependent on a good freshwater supply. The Delta Programme Commissioner proposes keeping the freshwater supply at an adequate level through the collective efforts of all authorities and consumers of water. The authorities will provide more transparency regarding the availability of water by agreeing supply levels. This approach will be introduced in the years ahead. Various pilots to that end are already underway in the five freshwater supply regions.

Water-robust design

Spatial planning will become more climate-proof and water-robust. The aim is that by 2050 the Netherlands will be as climate-proof and water-robust as possible. The authorities have joined forces to this end, so that the built environment will be more resistant to heat, drought and pluvial flooding, and there will be no additional risk of loss or casualties during (re)development. An incentive programme and a monitoring plan, including a benchmark, constitute important steps taken in the past year in order to achieve this aim. The benchmark shows that pluvial flooding, flood risk management and drought are already high on the political agenda. Some development is still needed to combat heat stress in urban areas. The national government will ensure that national vital and vulnerable functions, such as power stations, are made more flood-proof. Agreements to this end were set down last year.

Five Delta Decisions

Since 2010, the Delta Programme has been working , step by step, towards the national frameworks required to implement the new approach, in collaboration with the authorities, civic society organisations and the business community. These efforts have resulted in proposals for five widely supported “Delta Decisions”:

Supplementary to the above, the Delta Programme Commissioner has proposed a strategic Decision on Sand, with choices involving the use of sand replenishment along the coast.

The Delta Decisions mark the start of a well-considered follow-up to our work on the delta. The Delta Programme Commissioner will report on progress every year, as set down in the Delta Act.