IJsselmeer Region/freshwater supply region IJsselmeer Region

The essence of the Delta Decision on the IJsselmeer Region is twofold: maintenance of the average winter level up to 2050 in the purview of flood risk management, and enforcing flexible water level management in the purview of the freshwater supply. In terms of flood risk management, the preferential strategy sets out two operational measures: drainage by gravity if possible, and pumping if need be. The preferential strategy also encompasses dyke improvements. Increasing attention is paid to linkage with other social functions and interests. Furthermore, spatial measures are being prepared for the IJssel-Vecht delta to raise its flood protection. Disaster management is boosted and requires additional efforts, in particular in the field of interprovincial evacuation strategies.

Delta Decision on the IJsselmeer Region

See DP2015, Preferential strategy IJsselmeer Region.

Implementation of flood risk management strategy

On schedule

The implementation of the Delta Decision and the preferential strategy is on schedule. The placement of pumps in the IJsselmeer Closure Dam to expand the discharge capacity – a component of the IJsselmeer Closure Dam Project – will be contracted out in 2018. The contractor will be required to have the additional discharge capacity operational by no later than 2022. The final water level ordinance for the IJsselmeer Region, which sets out flexible water level management, is expected to come into force in early 2018. The pumps and the water level ordinance are essential elements of the Delta Decision on the IJsselmeer Region. 

The MIRT Studies into multi-layer flood risk management in the IJssel-Vecht delta and Marken were completed in 2014/2015. In 2016, the outcomes were translated into a comprehensive implementation strategy for the IJssel-Vecht delta, aimed at improving the coherence between dyke improvement, spatial planning, and disaster management. With respect to Marken, dyke improvement (layer 1) turned out to be the most cost-effective measure in terms of flood risk management. The MIRT exploration concerning the Marken dyke improvement has meanwhile resulted in a basic choice for a dyke improvement variant; the plan elaboration is in progress. As a result of the MIRT Study into multi-layer flood risk management at the island of Marken, disaster management measures (layer 3) were elaborated and implemented in 2016. Subsequent steps are scheduled for 2017. A further elaboration of layer 2 measures should reveal whether such measures are appropriate for Marken in the longer run.

The improvement of the Houtrib dyke and the Markermeer dyke between Hoorn and Amsterdam (Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management) is a key precondition for flood risk management in the IJsselmeer Region. The projects are scheduled to be completed by no later than 2022. The improvement of the IJsselmeer Closure Dam (IJsselmeer Closure Dam Project) is also on schedule and will be completed in 2022 as well. All in all, a stretch of 88 kilometres of primary flood defence systems will thus have been improved. 

In early 2017, the Hollands Noorderkwartier district water control board, the province of Noord-Holland, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment decided to postpone the public review period for the Water Act Project Plan and the other planning documents concerning the Markermeer dyke, in order to allow more time for the completion of the participation procedures in Uitdam and Durgerdam. At the behest of the governments concerned and other stakeholders, the Delta Programme Commissioner has set down recommendations regarding the Uitdam dyke improvement, based on an open and transparent process (cf. box Coordinating role for Delta Programme Commissioner in Markermeerdijken-Uitdam dyke improvement, Paragraph 2.2.4). A separate Water Act Draft Project Plan will be drawn up for Durgerdam. At the request of the authorities concerned, the participation process in Durgerdam has been extended to September 2018 in order to be able also to consider other spatial ambitions and wishes in addition to the flood risk management tasking.

On track

Currently, there is no need for a reconsideration of either the Delta Decision or the preferential strategy. The additional discharge capacity in the sluice complex near Den Oever (installation of pumps) is scheduled to become available at the end of 2022. This will provide Rijkswaterstaat with an additional operational measure, along with drainage by gravity. 

Rijkswaterstaat is mapping out the effectiveness of the combination of drainage by gravity and pumping by means of long-term water level measurements. Such measurements will indicate whether the chosen preferential strategy requires adjustment. The external developments being explored by the Delta Programme Signal Group will also be taken into consideration.

The Integrated Study into Flood Risk Management and Water Level Management (abbreviated to ISWP in Dutch) is intended to gain more insight into the interconnectivity between water discharge, flood risk management, and water level management in the IJsselmeer Region. In early 2017, the study generated coherent water level management strategies for the period beyond 2050 and a methodology for analysing these strategies (phase 2). Phase 3 will involve the refining and expansion of the methodology, and a further analysis of the strategies. The study is progressing as scheduled.

Integrated approach

Comprehensive regional and local cooperatives are developing in the IJsselmeer Region. The Delta Programme has intensified the collaboration between governments, water managers, NGOs, and the business community in the IJssel-Vecht delta, Amsterdam-Westpoort, and on the island of Marken. Such collaboration involves, e.g., the exchange of knowledge on water, spatial planning, and climate change, and the exploration of combined solutions to spatial planning and the regional economy. The IJsselmeer Region is too vast to warrant effective cooperatives for the entire area.

The attention to linkage opportunities with dyke improvements has yielded various integrated solutions, such as a city beach near Hoorn, a cycle path on the Hoorn-Amsterdam dyke, the “soft” improvement of the Houtrib dyke, a small surf beach near Lelystad, and a fish migration river near the IJsselmeer Closure Dam. To preserve the traditional Spakenburg portscape, the district water board has opted for a flexible flood defence system to substantiate the flood risk management tasking near Spakenburg: when the flood comes in, a wall emerges that under normal conditions remains concealed in the quay. 

In 2016, the central government and the provinces organised regional dialogues concerning the spatial interconnectivity between themes such as climate adaptation, energy transition, and nature. These discussions are used to underpin the Regional Agenda for the IJsselmeer Region 2050: a comprehensive perspective featuring an adaptive implementation agenda as well as a knowledge and innovation agenda. 

The Security Regions, that play a pivotal role in disaster management, are working on contingency management on the basis of national agreements. They have organised extensive evacuation drills on the island of Marken (2016) and in the IJssel-Vecht delta (2017). The Marken drill has shown that collaboration between the Security Regions in times of calamity merits intensification. 


In the purview of identifying linkage opportunities in dyke improvements in the IJsselmeer Region, several meetings are organised for the annual consultation on the Flood Protection Programme. The meetings are held in various parts of the region in order to accommodate the diversity of issues and of the stakeholders. 

In the IJsselmeer Region, participation among stakeholders is mainly established in the projects. The participation of residents, nature and landscape organisations, and local authorities is running smoothly. However, involving the business community remains a challenge. The business community is, however, participating in various private initiatives revolving around the IJsselmeer Closure Dam improvement tasking. 

In Amsterdam-Westpoort and the IJssel-Vecht delta, the governments are pursuing future-proof solutions in layers 2 and 3, in consultation with the business community. The MIRT Study into multi-layer flood risk management on Marken has afforded residents the opportunity to weigh in.

Implementation of freshwater supply strategy (IJsselmeer Region freshwater supply region)

The preferential strategy for freshwater supply in the IJsselmeer Region comprises a coherent set of measures involving the main water system (flexible water level management), the regional water systems (optimisation), and consumers (more economical use of water), in order to keep the freshwater supply in the IJsselmeer Region up to par.

preferential strategy for freshwater supply

See DP2015, preferential strategy for the freshwater supply in the IJsselmeer Region.

On schedule

The introduction of a flexible water level is on schedule. Once the new water level ordinance becomes available in early 2018 and the required permits have been issued, flexible water level management will be legally possible. Prior to the introduction, Rijkswaterstaat and the district water boards will field-test the new information and decision systems, including by serious gaming, and draw up protocols for operational water level management in the main water system and the regional water systems.

new water level ordinance

See Paragraph 4.1, under Implementation of flood risk management strategy, On schedule.

The Administrative Agreement of the IJsselmeer Region freshwater supply region comprises various programmes and measures. Most of them are on schedule, such as the Spaarwater [Water Saving] project (which spans four of the five provinces), the Dwarsdiep project, and the Optimalisatie Inlaten [Inlet Optimisation] project. In 2018, the interim results of Spaarwater 2 will become available. Several projects have sustained delays. The area development project Dulf-Mersken and vicinity is likely to incur a delay of one year, because required terrain is not yet available. Several projects initiated within the testing ground of the Hunze en Aa’s and Noorderzijlvest district water boards have been awarded grants from the European Rural Development Programme and can commence.

Water availability is addressed in all the sub-regions, but not all the organisations have made equal headway. The urgency is not felt equally strongly everywhere. In some cases, organisations are holding off their assessment of water availability in order to be able to link up with other area processes.

On track

As yet, there is no reason to adjust goals or measures. 

Change in water demand

The advent of a new Google data centre in the Eems harbour has raised the demand for (cooling) water from the IJsselmeer lake. The district water board and the province are in touch with Google with a view to minimising water demand. The bottleneck analysis will show whether this situation will affect the preferential strategy.

Integrated approach

Many freshwater supply projects are of an integrated nature. The provinces of Noord-Holland and Flevoland have set up integrated soil-water programmes in which the province, the district water board, and farmers are working on solutions to water quality, water shortage, and waterlogging. Throughout the region, stakeholders are integrating water availability programmes with programmes initiated under the Framework Directive on Water and projects addressing waterlogging. In the northern provinces, the Regional Consultation Committee has integrated with the freshwater supply administrative consultative body. 

Another topic that commands attention is the economy: extensive economic analyses are conducted in the Spaarwater [Water Saving], Gouden Gronden [Golden Soils], and Optimalisatie Inlaten [Inlet Optimisation] projects. In 2017, the Waternet water company will conduct a pilot involving the use of brackish seepage water to produce drinking water. This will obviate the need for flushing brackish seepage water with an excessive volume of Markermeer water. 


Governments and consumers are participating in virtually all the freshwater supply programmes. The Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture LTO and the Groningen Water Company sit on the Administrative Consultatative Body for the IJsselmeer Region Freshwater Supply Region. LTO administrators, drinking water companies, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders have joined forces in the IJsselmeer Region Regional Consultation Committee and signed the IJsselmeer Region Pact, with the intention of working on measures relating to flood risk management, freshwater supply, and spatial adaptation together with the authorities concerned. Such efforts are already under way in several freshwater supply projects. Consumers are also participating in the water availability pilots (agriculture, nature, municipalities).

In the purview of the new IJsselmeer Region water level ordinance, Rijkswaterstaat has organised an intensive process involving all the stakeholders in order to develop a decision that best serves all interests. Water managers and consumers are also actively weighing in on the operationalisation of the water level ordinance and Smart Water Management. 

Implementation of spatial adaptation strategy

The Flood-proof Westpoort adaptation strategy, focused on vital infrastructure and vulnerable functions, was completed in 2017. Its implementation is expected to commence in 2018. Westpoort (west of Amsterdam) is the largest petrol and cocoa port in the world. It accommodates several crucial facilities for the city and the region, such as infrastructure for the distribution of power to the city and a kerosene pipe to Schiphol Airport. Westpoort is situated above average sea level, but a flood may nonetheless have far-reaching consequences for the region. The pilot and the climate stress test have shown that tackling these flood risks can be linked to tackling waterlogging following severe precipitation. This is also important in the communication with businesses. Entrepreneurs appreciate the identification of flood risks in discussions about measures to combat waterlogging. The municipal authorities are making a case for linking waterlogging and flood risks to national vital and vulnerable functions policy, and have adopted this approach in their own projects. Drought is not an issue in Westpoort and the climate stress test has not identified any opportunities for linkage with heat stress measures. 

In the Overijssel Living Lab, Zwolle, Kampen, Zwartewaterland, the Drents Overijsselse Delta district water board, the IJsselland Security Region, and the province of Overijssel are collaborating on a flood-proof and climate-resilient IJssel-Vecht delta, including the protection of vital and vulnerable infrastructure. The parties are gaining experience by carrying out projects. The pragmatic approach has yielded various lessons to be learnt: take an extra good look at the functions over which the government has authority, either directly or through shareholdership; feed awareness and the sense of responsibility in the managing authorities of the vital and vulnerable infrastructure (this leads to commitment); and do not stop after a few years, but continue to work on this. In the new Environmental Vision, the province of Overijssel sets out the outlines of a water-resilient design and translates these into the environmental regulations. This commitment ties in with the ambition of being among the first provinces to realise a climate-adaptive design.

  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