Resources from other partners

Delta Programme: integrated approach

The Delta Programme is working on effective, integrated solutions to flood protection and freshwater supply taskings that are of national importance. This year, a concrete delta plan on spatial adaptation will be added. In comprehensive projects, whose scope extends beyond flood risk management and freshwater supply, financial responsibility is usually shared by several Delta Programme partners. This also extends to flood risk management and freshwater supply solutions involving both additional costs and additional benefits. This year, the Delta Programme also features a concrete Delta Plan on spatial adaptation. Non-central governments play a pivotal role in addressing this national tasking.

The integrated approach of the Delta Programme offers opportunities for nature-inclusive solutions to water and nature taskings.

Blue Connection

The Blue Connection is a thirteen kilometre long open watercourse in Rotterdam, Rhoon, and Barendrecht. The watercourse connects the Zuiderpark in Rotterdam, the Zuidelijk Randpark, the Landschapspark Buytenland to be constructed in Rhoon, and the Zuidpolder in Barendrecht. The municipality of Rotterdam and the Hollandse Delta district water board are developing a plan to improve water management, expand recreational facilities, and boost liveability in the surrounding residential areas. One of the building blocks is a link between the Blue Connection and the swimming pool in the Zuidelijk Randpark. This requires the watercourse to intersect the A15 motorway and the Betuwelijn railway; it also requires additional excavation. The parties involved have applied for a government grant for this project. Success factors are the early signing of a covenant by eight regional parties and the link with the expansion of the A15 motorway (through an implementation agreement with Rijkswaterstaat).

The Delta Plans also comprise measures that are fully funded by local governments, such as freshwater supply measures in the regional water system.  

District water boards

Under the Water Act, the central government and the district water boards are responsible for funding the improvement of the primary flood defences. In the 2017-2020 period, the aggregate district water boards expect to invest a total of 5.2 billion euros, of which 2.3 billion euros will be for flood defence systems. A substantial part of this investment is the so-called water authorities’ contribution to the improvement of the primary flood defences managed by the district water boards. Over recent years, this contribution has increased to a structural sum of 181 million euros per annum, with effect from 2015 (see Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management).

flood defence systems.

Source: ABF Research, WAVES- Financial data of the district water board budgets.

The investments by the district water boards mainly concern the long term. The expenditure involved is not directly charged to residents but rather divided over several years, similarly to the approach used by the other government authorities (apart from the central government). Expenditures on water management will total 2.7 billion euros in 2017, i.e., a 1.8% increase vis-à-vis 2016.

Figure 5

Investments by district water boards 2017-2020

Total district water board expenditure for 2017 is estimated at 2.7 billion euros. Of this amount, 39% pertains to the construction and operation of waste water purification plants, 28% involves the development and management of the water system, 13% is used for the construction and maintenance of flood defence systems, and 19% goes to the other policy domains. Spending on the construction and maintenance of flood defence systems accounts for a relatively minor part of total expenditure, yet this share has risen due to the water authorities’ contribution to the Flood Protection Programme: from 5% in 2011 to 13% in 2017.

Figure 6

Operating costs 2017 by policy field

Provinces, municipalities, and NGOs


The provinces are contributing to the Delta Programme in various ways: by allocating staff to the various programme teams or within their own organisations, by co-funding sub-programmes, or by contributing to research or measures. The provincial efforts are mainly focused on linking the various regional taskings to the Delta Programme taskings, and the supervision of water availability. The scope of the commitment – in terms of staff and funding – differs from one region to the next; it is dictated by the provincial interests at stake in a particular region. 

Various provinces, among which are Gelderland and Noord-Brabant, are contributing staff and process funds to the realisation of the Delta Decision on Flood Risk Management. The provinces are also participating in various implementation projects, for example, by linking other taskings to the flood protection tasking. Cases in point are Groningen (dyke improvement with opportunities for nature), Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, and Zuid-Holland (where the provinces are pro-actively looking for opportunities to link dyke improvements to other spatial taskings such as urban development, leisure activities, nature, and cultural history). The provinces of Gelderland, Noord-Brabant, Overijssel, Zuid-Holland, and Limburg are involved in the Rhine and Meuse programmes.

All the provinces are actively participating in the freshwater supply regions, in which the central government, district water boards, provinces, and NGOs are collaborating on the implementation of the Delta Decision on Freshwater Supply. For example, the province of Zuid-Holland bears responsibility for the national working group on water availability, and plays a coordinating role in the freshwater supply region of West-Netherlands. The province of Noord-Brabant has set up a subsidy scheme for projects that lead to water savings. The province of Flevoland is committed to the Flevoland Soil and Water Action Plan, comprising projects to expand the water storage capacity of the soil. 

Spatial adaptation is another topic in which the provinces play a part. The provinces are responsible for drawing up regional water plans, and setting down standards for waterlogging in their regulations. The provinces engage in spatial adaptation in other ways as well. For example, the province of Utrecht is exploring how projects initiated in that province can contribute to the climate adaptation of public space. The province of Zeeland is working on the water resilience of its vital and vulnerable functions. The province of Zuid-Holland has published a climate atlas that presents all the information on the impact of climate change and soil subsidence in story maps, to support policy and administrative decisions. The province of Gelderland has also compiled a climate atlas. 


In 2015, the municipalities spent 1.56 billion euros on urban water management, i.e., an average of 92 euros per resident. This is not the amount paid by each resident, as businesses also contribute and the costs differ from one municipality to the next. The municipalities spend approximately one-third of this sum on interest and repayment of loans for provisions constructed earlier. Slightly less than half is spent on the management of sewerage systems and other waste water, groundwater, and rainwater facilities. With a view to the potential damage, the municipalities are already raising their investments in order to limit waterlogging (from 200 million euros in 2014 to 225 million euros in 2015). This is in addition to the municipal investments in, e.g., sewering (650 million euros per annum) and combating waterlogging due to rising groundwater levels (an increase of more than 20% to 36 million euros per annum). The municipalities will continue and expand these additional investments in the years ahead. The implementation will factor in the synergy between the investments in the regional water system, the built-up environment, and the provincial investments in nature.

Self-realisation of Grensmaas

The Grensmaas project is a large river project in the province of Limburg. The work covers a 43 kilometre stretch between Maastricht and Echt-Susteren. The project is carried out by the Grensmaas Consortium and increases flood protection along the Meuse. Widening the Meuse channel and lowering the banks will reduce flood risk by a factor of five. Furthermore, Zuid-Limburg will have a new nature reserve along the river, covering some 1000 hectares. The work commenced in 2008 in Itteren. The Borgharen and Geulle aan de Meuse locations have already been completed.

The implementation of this project is quite remarkable. The Grensmaas Consortium is carrying out the work at its own expense and risk. In this so-called self-realisation project, the government is a partner rather than a principal. The province, Rijkswaterstaat, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (united into Rijkswaterstaat Meuse Projects) monitor the Consortium’s observance of the agreements set down in the implementation contract signed in 2005. The river widening and nature development project, costing some 550 million euros, is largely paid for from the proceeds of some 54 million tons of gravel and 10 million tons of sand. Many remarkable archaeological remains have been found in the area. The Grensmaas Consortium has funded the archaeological research and provides the locations with cultural-historical information through walking and cycling routes and an information centre. 

  1. Cover letter and Delta Programme Commissioner’s recommendations
  2. Introductory summary
    1. Continuing the work on a sustainable and safe delta
  3. Part I National level
  4. Progress of the Delta Programme
    1. Progress based on Monitoring, Analysing, Acting
    2. General picture of the progress
      1. On schedule
      2. On track
      3. Integrated approach
      4. Participation
      5. Effectiveness of the regions
    3. Progress in flood risk management
    4. Progress in spatial adaptation
    5. Progress in freshwater supply
    6. Embedding, knowledge and innovation, international collaboration
      1. Embedding
      2. Knowledge
      3. Innovation
      4. International efforts
  5. Delta Fund
    1. Developments in the Delta Fund
    2. Resources from other partners
    3. The financial taskings of the Delta Programme
    4. Financial security of the Delta Programme
  6. Part II Regions
  7. Progress per region
    1. IJsselmeer Region/freshwater supply region IJsselmeer Region
    2. Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden/West-Netherlands freshwater supply region
    3. Rhine/ Area around the major rivers freshwater supply region
    4. Meuse
    5. Southwest Delta/Southwest Delta freshwater supply region
    6. The Coast
    7. Wadden Region
    8. Elevated Sandy Soils South and East
  8. Part III Delta Plans
  9. Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management
    1. Implementation programmes
      1. Flood Protection Programme
      2. Second Flood Protection Programme
      3. Room for the River
      4. Meuse Projects
      5. WaalWeelde
      6. IJsselmeer Closure Dam
      7. Repair of Oosterschelde and Westerschelde stone claddings - Zeeland foreland deposits
    2. River widening in interconnection with dyke improvement
    3. Studies ensuing from knowledge agenda and in regions
  10. Map Flood risk management measures
  11. Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply
    1. Measures to ensure the availability of freshwater in the Netherlands
  12. Map Freshwater supply measures
  13. Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation
    1. Introduction
      1. Justification
      2. Aim and state of affairs of the Delta Plan
      3. Collective realisation
    2. Context
    3. “Analysis, Ambition, Action” – state of affairs
      1. Waterlogging
      2. Heat stress
      3. Drought
      4. Consequences of urban flooding
      5. Current approach
    4. Our intentions: expediting and intensifying
      1. Vision: from the present to 2050
      2. Ambition and strategy
      3. Interim goals
      4. Nationwide governance framework regarding spatial adaptation
      5. Funding
    5. Appendix 1. Action programme
    6. Appendix 2. Outcomes of regional meetings and round table discussions
  14. List of Background Documents
    1. Background documents
  15. Colophon
    1. Colophon content Delta Programme 2018
  16. How to use Delta Programme 2018