Organisation of the Delta Programme

The Delta Programme is a nationwide venture that brings together central government, provincial and municipal authorities, and water boards. Also involved are civil-society organisations, the business community and organisations with specialised water expertise.

The Delta Programme Board and the role of the Delta Commissioner

The Delta Programme is overseen by a special government official: the Delta Programme Commissioner. The Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that:

  • all the component parts of the Delta Programme are properly coordinated;
  • all plans are drawn up on time;
  • all the authorities are involved in the planning stage;
  • all the authorities carry out what has been agreed.

Complex decisions need to be taken now to ensure that the Netherlands is effectively protected against flooding in the future. The Delta Commissioner is empowered to advise ministers and other public administrators and to urge them to act if the situation requires. Every year, the Delta Commissioner proposes an update to the Delta Programme. The government then responds to the proposal.

Wim Kuijken is the current Delta Commissioner and first person to hold the appointment.

The Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management holds final responsibility for the Delta Programme. The ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Justice and Security, the Interior, and Finance are also involved in the Delta Programme.

9 sub-programmes Delta Programme

The Delta Programme consists of 9 sub-programmes. 3 are national and 6 are regional. The sub-programmes focus on the following themes:

  • safety
  • freshwater
  • new urban development and restructuring
  • the coast
  • Wadden region
  • rivers
  • IJsselmeer region
  • Rijnmond and Drechtsteden
  • Southwest Delta.

Delta Programme and Delta Act

The statutory agreements on the Delta Programme are set out in the Delta Act, which also stipulates that the Delta Programme must be updated every year.

Under the terms of the Act, the Delta Programme must provide strategies for protecting the Netherlands against flooding and ensuring sufficient freshwater supplies. There must be an itemised plan and an overview of the expenditure involved. Finally, the Delta Act specifies that the updated Delta Programme must be presented to parliament on .

The Delta Act also regulates the Delta Fund and describes the role of the Delta Commissioner. The Delta Act entered into force on 1 January 2012.

The Delta Fund: financing the Delta Programme

The measures listed in the Delta Programme are financed through tax revenues, paid by the entire population of the Netherlands through successive generations.

The Delta Fund is a separate resource from which all the measures and research studies itemised in the Delta Programme are financed.

Every year, approximately €1 billion from the Delta Fund is earmarked for flood prevention and freshwater measures. Of this sum, about €600 million is available for investment. The remaining €400 million are intended for management, maintenance and organisational expenditure. The Minister for Infrastructure and Water Management retains final responsibility for how the Fund's resources are spent.