Flood Risk Management

Some 60% of the Netherlands is prone to flooding. These areas accommodate nine million people and the bulk of our gross national product is earned here. Consequently, working on flood protection is a continuous necessity in the Netherlands. This is why in recent years, in the context of the Delta Programme, we have first prepared the Delta Decision on Flood Risk Management and subsequently drawn up the Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management, in collaboration with all the stakeholders involved.

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Delta Decision on Flood Risk Management

The Delta Decision on Flood Risk Management will provide every individual behind the dykes or dunes with the same level of protection: the probability of individual mortality as a result of flooding must not exceed 1:100,000 per annum. Higher protection levels apply in areas where flooding may cause major damage (in terms of large numbers of victims or economic loss). These goals have been translated into new standards for the dykes, dunes, and dams protecting our country against flooding from the sea, the major rivers, and the large lakes. The new standards have been anchored in the Water Act, which came into force on 1 January 2017. Flood risk management is thus tackled in a more focused and more effective manner, offering more protection for people and the economy. The new flood risk management policy is future-oriented and looks ahead to the situation expected for 2050. The aim is for all the flood defence systems to meet the new standards by then.

Would you like to know more about the new flood risk management policy? View a short animated film on the new approach. Also helpful: the booklet Waterveiligheid. Begrippen begrijpen (Flood risk management concepts explained; in Dutch).

New tools and tasking up to 2050

Setting down the new standards does not mean that our work is done. In order to be able to apply the new standards, the central government is developing an instrument, together with the district water boards, to assess the safety of the dykes, dunes and dams once every 12 years in accordance with the new method. The new assessment method works from coarse to fine: simple wherever it is possible and detailed wherever it is necessary.

The assessments are making steady progress: more than 15% of the primary flood defence systems have already been assessed on the basis of the new standards. The work is thus well on schedule. By 2023, this will yield a national picture of dyke improvement tasking up to 2050. Dyke sections that do not meet the new standards will be tackled in the period leading up to 2050. In most cases, this will involve dyke or dune improvements, or creating more room for rivers. Most of these measures are being carried out under the Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management

Integrated River Management Programme

Flood risk management is a key tasking in the area around the major rivers. As a result of climate change, the rivers will need to be able to discharge increasing volumes of water. In addition, the areas around the major rivers feature other taskings, relating to topics such as shipping, water quality, nature management, and freshwater supply. Along with all the stakeholders in these areas, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management intends to set up an Integrated River Management programme, in which all these taskings and ambitions are bundled and inter-connected. Under this programme, new impetus will be given to river widening.

Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management

The Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management sets out all the Delta Programme studies, measures, and provisions aimed at protecting the Netherlands against flooding. The plan contains a detailed schedule for the first six years and an outline schedule for the subsequent twelve years. It also looks ahead to 2050. Most of the measures are funded from the Delta Fund. The Delta Plan is a component of the Delta Programme annually presented by the Delta Programme Commissioner.

Delta Programme 2019

Read about the progress made with respect to the topic of Flood Risk Management in Delta Programme 2019. A timetable featuring all the studies and projects is presented in Paragraph 3.2.