Approach of the Delta Programme
How can we properly link the issue of safety to the goals for the economy, nature, the landscape, living and recreation? The plans and decisions needed to be made to this end are elaborated in the Delta Programme.
Many people and various generations of Dutch men and women will be affected. For this reason, the Delta Programme is a national programme in which the government, provinces, water authorities and municipalities work together. Civil society organisations, the business community and knowledge institutions are also actively involved. The Delta Programme is directed by the Delta Commissioner, the government commissioner specially appointed by the cabinet for this purpose. We are working together on a new-style Delta Plan with Dutch pragmatism, in the present with a view to the future. Our aim is to maintain the Netherlands as a safe and attractive country.
Measures for the short and long term
To prepare well for the future we need to take measures for the short term that are in line with the long term. Measures that allow us to expand our capacity to adapt and withstand extreme situations. For example, by giving rivers more room; or by strengthening the coast with sand so that it can cope with the rising sea level.
Adaptive delta management
In this way, the necessity to take drastic measures can be delayed. We can use the time we gain to learn more about the changes in our climate and to develop innovative solutions. We call this approach ‘adaptive delta management’. Scenarios can help us to identify turning points in the policy that call for dramatic measures.
With this strategy of taking measures now to delay certain turning points, for example by taking future water issues into account when building in particular areas, we are ensuring that the available funds are being spent as efficiently as possible. We will be further elaborating the adaptive delta management strategy in the time ahead.
Example of a turning point: level of the IJsselmeer
An example of a turning is the management of the water level of the IJsselmeer. Here, surplus water can be released into the Wadden Sea in free overflow, in other words, the water flows freely out of the lake. As the sea level rises, this will become more and more difficult. In order to still be able to release water at the current level of the IJsselmeer, we are working on expanding the discharge capacity. But if the sea level rises a further 25 cm, freely discharging water will become virtually impossible. The level of the Wadden Sea and that of the IJsselmeer will then be almost the same. The turning point of the strategy will then have been reached.