Implementation and updating of flood risk management strategy

Under the preferential strategy for the Meuse, flood protection is provided through a powerful interaction of dyke improvements and river widening. In 2016, the Meuse region submitted a regional proposal to the Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment: a coherent set of short-term measures, in which the required flood risk management is established in combination with area developments. The regions along the Meuse – the Meuse valley and the Dyked River Meuse – are elaborating the preferential strategy for the long term, in collaboration with the central government, on the basis of the new flood protection standards.

the preferential strategy for the Meuse

See DP2015, preferential strategy for the rivers. 

On schedule

In the MIRT Consultation Committee meeting of October 2016, the central government and the region adopted the Regional Proposal for the Meuse comprising eleven short-term measures. The proposal features eight explorations and three studies pertaining to river widening projects.

Three of the explorations involve MIRT explorations regarding Oeffelt, Venlo, and Ravenstein-Lith (the latter two also encompass dyke improvement taskings); five are HWBP explorations for Thorn, Venlo-Velden, Baarlo, Arcen, and Well (aimed at system restoration of the Meuse). All the explorations have embarked on a detailed problem analysis and analyses aimed at developing solution strategies. In the explorations, river widening is examined in interconnection with dyke improvement and spatial and economic area development. In the years ahead, this will generate proposals for plan elaborations. 

The three MIRT Studies pertain to the Maasoeverpark near ‘s-Hertogenbosch-Maasdriel, Zuidelijk Maasdal near Maastricht, and Lob van Gennep. The studies and elaborations have commenced. The MIRT Consultation Committee is expected to be able to take a decision regarding subsequent steps in the autumn of 2017 or in 2018.

The preparations for dyke improvements scheduled under the Flood Protection Programme are also proceeding as planned. For nine dyke sections, the Limburg district water board has launched explorations regarding the improvement of the existing alignment (Northern Meuse Valley exploration). The substantive elaboration has commenced, as has communication with the surrounding area. In order to make a choice regarding the height of the dykes, an analysis has been conducted of river widening measures that will reasonably feature in the long-term strategy for the Meuse. The results will constitute the basis for the design of the dyke improvements that will need to be executed in the near future. This process has produced a substantiated and transparent proposal for dyke heights that accommodates the mix of measures – river widening and dyke improvement – on which agreements will be made in 2018. 

On track

In the preferential strategy for flood risk management, the focus is on the first layer of multi-layer flood risk management (prevention), in respect of both the short and the long term. The measures set out in the Regional Proposal for the Meuse 2016 constitute a first step towards resolving the flood protection issue. Based on estimates for the period 2017-2030 and an initial look ahead to the period 2030-2050, it is expected that approx. 75% of the measures needs to be implemented in the second period in order to have all the flood defence systems meet the new standards by 2050. This major challenge will require a substantial acceleration of the pace with effect from 2030.

In the Ambition for the Rivers project, the Meuse region is updating the preferential strategy in concert with the central government. The aim is a realistic and feasible long-term proposal for the combination of dyke improvement and river widening: the Adaptive Implementation Strategy for the Meuse. The national agreement (for the Meuse and the Rhine tributaries) is that the long-term ambition will be set down in the form of a water level line for 2050, which will constitute the point of departure for dyke improvements and river widening. The preferential strategy for the Meuse is currently being updated and elaborated on the basis of, inter alia, the flood protection standards that entered into force on 1 January 2017. To this end, regional processes have been set up for the Meuse Valley and the Dyked River Meuse, for which responsibility is borne by the provinces of Limburg and Noord-Brabant. All the district water boards and municipalities are involved in these efforts. In 2017, the regional processes will generate potential sets of measures involving river widening. These sets of measures will be used as input for a social cost-benefit analysis for the Meuse. This analysis, which will be coordinated at the national level, will serve as a building block for the administrative decisions to be taken by the central government and the region regarding the Adaptive Implementation Strategy for the Meuse, which is scheduled to be completed by 2018. The administrative decisions pertain to the bandwidth of the water level line to be set down in the future, funding of the entire operation, governance in river widening projects, and the date by which the measures must be embedded in (spatial planning) policy.

Integrated approach

Wherever possible, the Meuse region takes account of ambitions relating to other fields. The measures contained in the Regional Proposal for the Meuse will be substantiated as integrated area projects. In collaboration with stakeholders, the municipalities, provinces, and district water boards will map out linkage opportunities in the studies and explorations. As a rule, linkage requires additional funding. Opportunities for linkage with flood risk management measures concern, e.g., the development of the industrial port in the Venlo project, and nature and leisure facilities in the Ravenstein-Lith project. Spatial quality is an integral part of the preferential strategy for the Meuse, as it is in the Rhine strategy.


During the past year, participation was focused on the identification of the main opportunities and issues in the explorations and studies. To this end, the governments organised project-level participation meetings for all the stakeholders. The Meuse Delta Programme Steering Group confers with the Meuse Consultative Group in this respect. In the Meuse Valley and Dyked River Meuse regional processes, the administrative support bases are consulted (municipal councils, general district water board meetings, and Provincial Executives).

For example, the Limburg district water board already entered into a dialogue with the surrounding area regarding dyke improvement and dyke relocation projects even before it had elaborated the exact locations and improvement methods. The participation process runs via environment working groups, design workshops, and information meetings. All the interests in the area are represented, including those of residents, the business community, nature organisations, and farmers. This produces excellent results.

Administrators of the various governments are participating in project-related steering groups. Stakeholders and interest groups collaborate on solutions in, e.g., workshop meetings. In addition, the parties involved are kept informed about the projects through information meetings, mailings, flyers, or websites. The means of communication are dictated by the nature and scope of the projects.

Supra-regional interest organisations are also participating in the Meuse Consultative Group. This group coordinates the decision-making on Meuse-wide issues. 

Implementation of freshwater supply strategy (freshwater supply to the area around the major rivers)

Implementation of spatial adaptation strategy

In the spring of 2017, parties in Noord-Brabant and Limburg jointly presented their report Uitnodiging Zuid-Nederland: versneld aan de slag met klimaatadaptatie [Invitation to South-Netherlands: giving impetus to climate adaptation] to the Delta Programme Commissioner and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (see box in Paragraph 4.8, Elevated Sandy Soils, text box Giving impetus to climate adaptation – Invitation to South-Netherlands).

Waterlogging in June 2016: stress test for climate resilience

The entire month of June 2016 saw an extreme volume of precipitation in the area between Tilburg and Venlo. Local volumes exceeded 300 mm in this month, five times the June average. Even in the latest KNMI climate scenarios, 300 mm of rain in a single month is an extreme situation. Ditches, brooks, and sewer systems overflowed, which caused a great deal of damage and trouble, especially among farmers.

This calamity can be regarded as a stress test for the future-resilience of the water system. Climate change will bring more extreme periods. For this reason, the De Dommel district water board has scrutinised its strategy, its policy, and the lay-out of the area as regards both urban and rural environments. Are we sufficiently prepared for the 2050 climate? Can we handle periods of waterlogging and drought? The district water board has requested farmers, residents, experts, students, and civil servants to present their views. This has resulted in the Leven-de-Dommel action plan, featuring 24 concrete measures. The district water board adopted the plan on 19 April 2017 and will set aside an additional sum of nearly 15 million euros to improve the climate-resilience of the water system.

  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