Preferred Strategy for Rhine Estuary/Drecht Towns

The ambitions for the Rhine Estuary/Drecht Towns region, as part of the national Delta Programme, have been elaborated in detail in a preferred strategy.

The Delta Decisions on Flood risk management, the Rhine-Meuse Delta, Spatial adaptation and Fresh water constitute the basis for the preferred strategy for the Rhine Estuary/Drecht Towns region. The primary focus of the preferred strategy is on flood risk management. The secondary focus is on fresh water and spatial adaptation. There is also a focus on mitigating the consequences of flooding through spatial planning and crisis management.

Flood risk management

Findings show that the current system with dikes and open, movable, storm surge barriers is sustainable until at least 2070, even given the current expectations for sea level rise. In the short term, many new homes will be built in the area, including near existing dikes. It will be a challenge to preserve enough room for future dike upgrades. The agendas for dikes and spatial developments will be coordinated and linked with one another in good time.

The strategy also pays attention to mitigating the effects of flooding, both behind the dikes and in the unprotected area outside the dikes. In the years ahead, particular attention will be paid to the flood-aware design of new residential areas and facilities for essential and vulnerable functions.

All investments in the spatial domain will take the long-term agenda for flood risk management into consideration. Area developments are being implemented for the long term, and efficient coordination with the agenda for flood risk management is cost-effective. This approach fits in with the national aim of making water and soil leading factors for spatial development.

Freshwater supply

The freshwater strategy makes the Western Netherlands resilient to situations with limited freshwater influx, as in 2018. Major infrastructure measures will not yet be required in the decades to come. However, measures are being taken in the context of areas such as Smart Water Management and the Climate-Resilient Freshwater Supplies in the Main Water System.

The regions are also implementing measures to cope with higher water demand as a result of the effects of climate change and social developments.

Spatial adaptation

The Western Netherlands is also working on spatial adaptation. Climate adaptation has been included in the policies of several major cities and the provincial authority of Zuid-Holland. Climate adaptation is a key component of every new development. The Covenant on Climate-Adaptive Building serves as a guideline. The water authorities, provincial authorities, private parties and the vast majority of municipal authorities signed the Letter of Intent on Climate-Adaptive Building.  This is an integral package of regulations with which new building activities must comply.

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