The coast protects millions of Dutch residents against flooding from the sea. The coastal zone is home to over a million residents and businesses, and attracts many tourists and visitors. The Preferential Strategy for flood risk management along the coast is aimed at keeping the coast safe, attractive, and economically strong in the future. In the years ahead, the focus will be on fleshing out the strategy. The region is exploring opportunities for integrated solutions, such as multi-functional dune zones or dykes. The Delta Decisions and the Decision on Sand constitute the framework in this regard.
Along the coast, taskings in terms of flood risk management may arise from soil subsidence and the rising sea level as a result of climate change. Major interventions will probably not be needed before 2050, apart from regular sand replenishment, and management and maintenance of flood defences. In the long run, depending on the rate at which the sea level rises, measures may be required at a number of locations in order to maintain the desired protection level.
Preferential strategy for flood risk management
The Preferential Strategy for Flood Risk Management along the coast ensues from the National Coastal Vision: a safe, attractive and economically strong coast. The Preferential Strategy outlines methods to link up the flood protection tasking and spatial developments, tailored to each individual location. In many cases, spatial developments outpace the flood protection tasking.
In order to identify linkage opportunities, several parties have designated seventeen pearl projects: locations that are open to sustainable economic and spatial development in combination with flood risk management.
For each situation, the parties involved determine whether linking the flood protection tasking and the spatial ambition would be advisable and feasible, and within what timeframe. If the issues are not linked, the parties take one another’s tasking or ambition into consideration when implementing management or maintenance. If linking would be advisable, the parties jointly set down the tasking along with potential solution strategies.
Governments, nature organisations, the recreational sector, and drinking water companies have drawn up a “Coastal Pact”, outlining the coastal values that underpin their views of the future development of the coast. Under this Pact, the parties are collectively working on, e.g., a zoning plan regarding the use (e.g., nature, leisure activities) of the coastal zone. The agreements are set down in provincial regulations.
The coast mainly consists of sand which is moved by the water currents. Keeping the coast high enough, both under and above water, requires regular replenishments using sand from locations elsewhere in the North Sea. This is necessary to ensure the safety of flood defences, and it offers room for other functions along the coast. More sand replenishment is needed if the sea level rises. The current sand replenishment programme will be continued for the near future. Under the Coastal Genesis II multi-year knowledge programme, research is being conducted into future sand requirements and the impact of sand replenishment.
In the period 2016-2019, sand requirements will be lower than the average volumes required in the past. This can be attributed to the large volumes of sand deposited recently in projects such as the Sand Engine and the reinforcement of the so-called Weak Links Along the Coast. Furthermore, the sand is staying put for longer than expected. Sand volumes on the beach and off the coast are measured annually and replenished by new sand deposits.