The Delta Programme and innovation are of paramount importance to one another. Innovations enable us to realise the ambitious Delta Programme taskings by 2050, and within the Delta Programme, conditions are created that invite innovations.
Many Delta Programme projects generate innovations. The Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management fosters innovative concepts in General Explorations. Several innovations have already been tested in such an exploration and have found their way to application in a dyke, such as the Vertical Sand-tight Geotextile from the Piping exploration, the dyke nailing concepts from the Macrostability exploration, and the dyke cladding methods from the Wadden Sea Dykes exploration. Innovations also materialise outside the Flood Protection Programme. For example, private parties are contributing to the development of knowledge on tidal plants and “energy dykes” (dykes used for the generation of sustainable energy). The reopening of the Flakkee sluice in 2017 opens up opportunities for the development of a tidal technology centre. Private parties are applying for the required permits and grants, have pledged co-funding, and are working on the design of the turbines. Among other things, they intend to test and certify turbines here in terms of fish friendliness. The results can be used for tidal plants or hydro-electric power stations in rivers and estuaries at home and abroad.
Start-ups are also attempting to bring innovations to application. Universities and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment are supporting such start-ups, for example, through the Delta Technology & Water Valorisation Programme set up by Delft University of Technology, and the Making Waves event organised by the Ministry, which was held on the IJsselmeer Closure Dam in September 2017. Concrete successes achieved by start-ups include the Hillblock (innovative dyke cladding), the Tube barrier (mobile flood defence system as an alternative to sandbags), and the Polder rooftop (controlled water storage for the temporary retention of rainwater, to be discharged when the time is right).