Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden/West-Netherlands freshwater supply region

Implementation of flood risk management strategy

The preferential strategy for flood risk management in the Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden area is based on prevention through dykes, storm surge barriers, and river widening. The region aims to combine the measures with spatial developments wherever possible. In addition, the region is exploring how spatial measures can raise the safety level, for example, by smart combinations at the Eiland van Dordrecht. Another item on the agenda is bringing disaster management up to par. A final aim is to improve the flood protection of the areas outside the dykes and of vital and vulnerable objects.

preferential strategy for flood risk management in the Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden area

See DP2015, Preferential strategy Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden.

smart combinations

See DP2015, p. 66, Multi-layer flood risk management.

On schedule

The implementation agenda of the Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden area features various measures and studies, virtually all of which are running as planned. The paragraphs below reflect the progress made with respect to several measures.

The dyke improvements scheduled for the Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden region under the Flood Protection Programme are on schedule. The Capelle and Moordrecht dyke improvements have been completed. With a lead time of 5.5 years, from exploration to realisation, the Moordrecht project is one of the fastest completed dyke improvements in the Netherlands. For the other Hollandse IJssel bank, an exploratory study has been launched: the Krachtige IJsseldijken Krimpenerwaard [Krimpenerwaard Strong IJssel dykes] exploration. The ongoing Kinderdijk-Schoonhovenseveer dyke improvement project won both the InfraTech Innovation award and the Cobouw public award in 2016.

The study into reduction of the probability of failure and the partial closure of the Maeslant storm surge barrier has generated insights to raise the flood protection level of the Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden area. Partial operation of the Maeslant storm surge barrier, by closing one of the two sector doors, turns out to be technically feasible. In addition, technical improvement measures relating to the barrier itself have been explored. Within the Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden Delta Programme, Rijkswaterstaat is exploring which measures can be implemented in interconnection with the dyke safety task for 2028. Such measures will improve mid-term flood protection and do not impact the decision on the Locks Plan (Geurts motion). The Locks Plan option will be considered in the study as a fully-fledged alternative, if the rising sea level dictates replacement of the Maeslant storm surge barrier (this study is expected to commence around 2040.)

A component of the Delta Decision on the Rhine-Meuse delta is that in 2017, the central government will decide, in consultation with the provinces and district water boards, whether or not the option of changing the discharge distribution among the Rhine tributaries after 2050 will remain open. The study into the benefit and necessity of this option is taking longer than planned (see Paragraph 4.3 Rhine). The Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden Regional Consultative Body and the Rhine Administrative Platform are involved and provide input wherever required.

The Schieland en de Krimpenerwaard district water control board launched the Voorlanden [Forelands] General Exploration in 2016. The outcomes are relevant to the Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden area, Rhine, Meuse, IJsselmeer Region, and Wadden Region.

The MIRT Study into the operationalisation of the strategy to enhance the coping capacity of Eiland van Dordrecht (follow-up to the MIRT Study into multi-layer flood risk management around Dordrecht) will be completed in 2017. Subsequently, the administrative bodies concerned will decide whether a smart combination with compartmentalisation dykes (inner dykes) can be an alternative to improving the primary flood defence systems. The MIRT Study concerning Alblasserwaard-Vijfheerenlanden was completed in 2016. The regional parties involved are continuing their collaboration and elaborating potential linkage opportunities, in anticipation of the dyke improvements required up to 2050. In this context, they are also exploring whether multi-layer flood risk management will open up additional opportunities.

The Rotterdam-Noord Disaster Management case study generated an improvement strategy for crisis plans in 2016, with tailored solutions for evacuation (vertical evacuation in most cases, in some cases supplemented with horizontal evacuation), risk zoning with specific courses of action for each zone, and enhancing individual and collective coping capacities. In the first half of 2017, the district water boards, municipalities, Rijkswaterstaat, and the Security Region will decide on the follow-up to this strategy. In addition, the Security Regions are working on the ambitions set out in the Water and Evacuation project.

The four pilot projects relating to the flood risk management of (unprotected) areas outside the dykes (Noordereiland/Kop van Feijenoord, Dordrecht historic port area, Merwe-Vierhavens, and Botlek flood protection) were completed in early 2017. The projects have generated information on flood risks outside the dykes as well as potential adaptation strategies and measures. The municipality of Rotterdam will use this information as the basis for drawing up, in collaboration with the stakeholders, the regional strategic adaptation agenda for areas outside the dykes.

On track

Currently, there is no reason for reconsidering the preferential strategy. The expectation is that the ongoing measures and the measures scheduled under the preferential strategy will enable attainment of the goals, properly and in good time. As per agreement, the preferential strategies will be reviewed every six years. The first review will take place in 2020. The Delta Programme Signal Group will map out the external developments that could constitute reason for readjusting the strategies. In order to provide substantive input to this process and initiate a timely discussion within the region on the course of the preferential strategy, Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden will be monitoring the developments in the area, such as regional economic developments. The first assessment of the dykes under the new standards will also be factored in.

Integrated approach

The Delta Programme has fostered closer collaboration among governments, NGOs, and the business community. Knowledge is exchanged about issues such as water, spatial planning, and climate change, as are combined solutions to spatial planning and the regional economy.

In November 2016, the district water boards and the Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden Delta Programme organised a meeting on connecting spatial planning and water, within the context of the annual consultations on the Flood Protection Programme. This meeting has generated an overview of potential linkage opportunities in the scheduled dyke improvements. The Water-Spatial Planning Evaluation shows that the collaboratives in the region are successful in connecting water and spatial planning. The evaluation has also generated several points for attention in this respect.

The Alblasserwaard-Vijfheerenlanden MIRT Study shows how flood risk management can be connected to the cultural-historical identity, spatial quality, and economic strength of the area. To address the taskings along the Hollandsche IJssel, the region has conducted a comprehensive exploration by examining the role of the Hollandsche IJssel storm surge barrier, dykes, and forelands in interconnection. Attention has also been paid to linkage opportunities, such as improving access to the Krimpenerwaard. The parties are reviewing the developments and results through regular administrative coordination meetings. The regional perspective for the northern rim of Voorne-Putten (Geuzenlinie) has identified various linkage opportunities in dyke improvements. In 2017, this perspective will be elaborated into an area-based programme. In this process, the parties will also pay attention to opportunities for linking regional taskings to the flood risk management tasking. The district water board is closely involved in the efforts.


In addition to local authorities, nature organisations such as Natuurmonumenten and Staatsbosbeheer also participate in the annual meeting on linkage opportunities in dyke improvements (consultation on the Flood Protection Programme). In addition, stakeholders are involved in the projects. The participation of local authorities is running smoothly, but involving private individuals and businesses remains a challenge. A complicating factor is that many projects are still in an exploratory stage. 

Some positive exceptions can be observed. Residents are participating in the MIRT Study into the operationalisation of the strategy to enhance the coping capacity of Eiland van Dordrecht. The “innovation table” in Alblasserwaard Vijfheerenlanden is an innovative way to give the business community a say. The Rotterdam Port Authority is in charge of the Botlek flood risk management pilot, in which the business community is also participating. In the Noordereiland/Kop van Feijenoord and the Dordrecht historic port area pilots, residents have weighed in on the study into a water-resilient design. This has generated measures for individual buildings and points for attention with respect to communication before and during flood water situations. 

Implementation of freshwater supply strategy (Western Netherlands)

Key elements in the preferential strategy for the freshwater supply in Western Netherlands are the expansion of the Central Netherlands Climate-proof Water Supply (KWA+) system, to raise the supply capacity, and the optimisation of the water supply from the Brielse Meer lake.

freshwater supply in Western Netherlands

See DP2015, preferential strategy for freshwater supply in Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden.

On schedule

Across the board, the measures in the Western Netherlands freshwater supply region are on schedule. With respect to the capacity expansion of the Central Netherlands Climate-proof Water Supply system, the planning stage for the largest sub-section has commenced, aimed at water intake from the Amsterdam-Rijn canal and the river Lek during dry spells. In 2017, an extended exploration will be carried out for a section of the route (the Lopikerwaard route) in order to examine, e.g., whether the costs will remain within the budget set aside. In the context of the exploration regarding the Irene locks bypass, Rijkswaterstaat is exploring what volume of freshwater intake through the Irene locks will be required during dry spells to combat salinisation of the water inlets and the Amsterdam-Rijn canal, and to supply sufficient water under the KWA+ and Water agreements. The additional salt burden resulting from the new sea lock near IJmuiden will be mitigated by selective extraction; this additional salt burden will not raise the capacity demand at the Irene locks. If the preferred variant is a bypass, a study into options for energy generation may be called for. The Irene locks exploration shows that the measures agreed upon probably cannot be realised under the Delta Fund budget agreed upon. For that reason, water intake through both lock chambers is considered as a restrained alternative option that can be realised under the budget available. A joint fact-finding process is identifying alternative freshwater supply routes to the western part of the Netherlands. Several working sessions have been organised to explore the pros and cons of alternative supply routes for the regional and main water systems. 

The measure aimed at optimisation of the Brielse Meer water supply will be elaborated this year. 

Many freshwater supply measures funded by regional authorities are incorporated into area-based plans and also address waterlogging and water quality. The measures set out in the Delta Plan on Agricultural Water Management (DAW) are focused on nutrients. The Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture LTO and the district water boards involved are attempting to capitalise on these measures to improve the freshwater supply. The Oasen and Dunea drinking water companies are expanding their purification plants in response to climate change and salinisation.

District water boards and provincial authorities in the freshwater supply region have gained experience with water availability. At the behest of consumers, the authorities are combining this process with more comprehensive area processes. This takes more time, but accommodates the need for information among consumers.

On track

There is no reason for adjusting the course of the preferential strategy regarding the freshwater supply. Many measures and area processes relating to water availability are approached from a more comprehensive perspective than originally envisaged. This impacts the pace of their implementation, but not their course: attainment of the goals is not jeopardised, which means that the strategy itself does not need adjusting. With respect to external developments such as the IJmuiden sea lock construction and the deepening of the Nieuwe Waterweg, agreements have been made regarding additional monitoring. Compensating and mitigating measures will be taken to counteract potential salinisation effects.

Integrated approach

Measures and area processes relating to freshwater supply are usually comprehensive in nature, because the parties regard freshwater supply as an element of the soil and water system. In many cases, measures fostering the resilience of the regional water system also prove conducive to other taskings, such as improving water quality, combating waterlogging, and regional area developments. Many area processes relating to water availability are also integral by nature: in addition to the availability of sufficient water, local water consumers also have an interest in, for example, the prevention of waterlogging. The area processes can also be utilised for the dialogue on spatial adaptation. Examples of integrated projects and processes are Haarlemmermeer Flushing, Krimpenerwaard Area Plan, and the joint fact-finding process concerning water supply routes in Western Netherlands.


Participation takes place at several levels. The agriculture, nature, and drinking water sectors are represented in the administrative consultations of the freshwater supply region. Farmers weigh in on water availability measures in area processes. Examples are the measuring of salt content by farmers in the Oostpolder and the implementation of water saving measures at the operational level in the Boskoop greenport region. Measures taken by the sector fit into the Delta Plan on Agricultural Water Management. The drinking water sector is improving the resilience of the drinking water production while exploring opportunities for, e.g., re-use of effluent. Nature organisations are involved in the joint fact-finding process regarding alternative supply routes. Municipalities are involved at the project level, for example, in the area processes regarding water availability and the exploratory study regarding the capacity expansion of the climate-proof water supply system.

Implementation of spatial adaptation strategy

The municipality of Dordrecht, the Hollandse Delta district water board, and the province of Zuid-Holland have set up a living lab to substantiate their ambition to expedite spatial adaptation at the Eiland van Dordrecht. Dordrecht aims to present an image as a green-blue city in the Dutch delta, among other ways through climate-resilient and attractive residential areas. The living lab is supporting this aim with three pilot projects focused on urban water quality, urban water quantity, and a climate-resilient design for the new Dordtse Kil IV industrial estate. Knowledge institutes and private parties are anxious to participate and, in some cases, provide co-funding. Residents and consumers are also involved in the living lab. Erasmus University and Deltares are supporting the collaborative process by creating conditions for continued development in the objectives, design, and evaluation of the pilots. They thus aim to ensure that the conditions set for the pilots are not too limiting to generate any useful effect (“pilot’s paradox”). This living lab can have considerable added value for both the region itself and other parties in the Netherlands engaged in adaptation.

The Climate-proof City action programme initiated in The Hague comprises three elements: analysis, ambition, and action. In the analysis context, Delft University of Technology is examining heat islands in the city, in a study entitled Haagse Hitte [Heat in The Hague]. The study builds on earlier projects carried out in Amsterdam and Rotterdam: Amsterwarm and Hotterdam. Students investigate how the temperature in the city affects the well-being of its residents. One hundred residents of The Hague are participating in the study by hanging up a small digital weather station in their homes.

The port area and the industrial complex of Rotterdam are largely located outside the dykes. Both areas are of major economic significance for the Netherlands and Europe. Flood risks in the elevated port are small, but heavy storms on the North Sea can cause waterlogging in parts of the Botlek area, and in extreme cases even minor coastal flooding. The Botlek pilot shows that coastal flooding will cause mainly economic damage here, with only limited environmental pollution and hardly any fatalities, if at all. The pilot generates information on the vulnerability and chain dependency of vital and vulnerable infrastructure, such as the interdependency of businesses in the area, and their dependency on power supply, nitrogen supply, and the A15 motorway. The pilot also provides insight into the degree of acceptability of risks, and into the various perceptions of public and private parties. Several companies are already taking action on the basis of their own assessment frameworks. It is important for the businesses also to continue to work collectively on the recommended adaptation strategy. The national Vital and Vulnerable project can also capitalise on the knowledge and experience from the pilot. 

In the Share My City project (third round of impact projects), residents are being encouraged to make private space available for public purposes such as water storage, more greening, and less paving. Share My City is both a platform and a movement, aimed at facilitating the implementation of water retention measures in private spaces. The project provides insight into the private space potential of each building, and links the opportunities to locations that require water storage. Subsequently, a campaign encourages residents to make space available. Residents immediately see what they can do at their own premises, and what is in it for them. Climate-proof and water-resilient planning thus becomes a collective social tasking, rather than a government tasking only.

  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