Measures for the Southwest Delta
The implementation of measures in the Southwest Delta is proceeding apace. There are also many new projects on the agenda for the years ahead.
- The integral Water Dunes project has been completed. It combined coastal reinforcement, nature development and leisure.
- The Roggenplaat sand nourishment project in the Eastern Scheldt has also been completed. It focused on nature and flood risk management (the mitigation of wave attack on the south coast of Schouwen).
- The work on the Zevenbergen port was completed in 2020 in the Roode Vaart project.
- The Kop van Schouwen Smart Sand Use pilot project resulted in new dynamics and the improvement of the ecological and landscape values of the dunes. Sand nourishment also took place on the Brouwersdam beach, which is important for the regional economy.
- In the context of the Zeeland Climate Adaptation Strategy (KASZ), the climate stress tests have been completed and a risk dialogue has been conducted in the province.
- That resulted in 'Climate Change: risks in Zeeland in the picture'. In conjunction with this publication, a joint implementation programme was developed and a six-year implementation covenant was signed.
- The Roode Vaart inlet facility was officially opened on 3 May 2022. This will allow West-Brabant to be supplied with extra fresh water from the Hollands Diep.
- The Sea Level Rise Knowledge Programme organised three working sessions for the Southwest Delta in 2022. They produced more insights into future water and land use, such as the construction of nuclear power plants and new coastal landscape development combining flood risk management, nature and leisure.
Plans for 2024-2026
- In 2022, work began on the elaboration of the action perspectives in the 2015 Area Agenda for the Southwest Delta. That agenda combines the national agendas and the regional economy into inspiring action perspectives. In addition to the ongoing processes for the Veerse Meer Area Vision and the Volkerak-Zoommeer Area Process, the intention is to initiate area processes for the Eastern Scheldt and Western Scheldt in 2024.
- An Integrated Knowledge and Innovation Agenda for the Southwest Delta will be developed in the years ahead. On the basis of an approach developed by Deltares, the parties will acquire an understanding of the complex integrated issues facing the area in the short, medium and long term. In 2024, this new approach will be implemented in the work process.
- The execution of ‘iconic projects’ as part of the Delta Issues Research Process is contributing to national and regional knowledge development. One example is the iconic Innovative Water Defence Landscapes project.
- The Flood Risk Management Project Organisation (POW) is an alliance of the Scheldestromen water authority and Rijkswaterstaat Sea and Delta. The POW will be working on the Hansweert dike upgrade in the coming years. This is the first project in Zeeland to be executed in line with the latest safety standards. The project is also focusing as much as possible on sustainability and circularity. Residents were involved in discussions about a range of variants and they contributed wishes and ideas during residents’ evenings and dike excursions. The work is being done in phases and completion is expected in 2027.
- The regional water system will be designed and managed more robustly to establish closer connections with the main water system. The reuse of effluent is being studied and taking shape in a few specific areas (in the Bath and Terneuzen region). The regional partners are working together as much as possible on the required knowledge development.
- For the Volkerak-Zoommeer lake, we are working on a concrete feasible plan to improve quality with the objective of a robust and healthy area. This plan will be incorporated in the Volkerak-Zoommeer Area Process. Important themes are: ecology and water quality, freshwater availability, and economy and leisure. The Waterpoort network, which consists of major actors, is working on the plan.
- The Grevelingen Tide Restoration project is working on restoring limited tides here with the aim of reducing the area of oxygen-depleted soil and improving water quality and underwater nature. Water quality and underwater nature are suffering from the effects of the Delta Works. Sea level rise will make it more difficult in time to maintain the desired tidal range. The project team is elaborating two variants of a culvert that takes the tidal range into consideration.
- The leisure values and nature at the Veerse Meer location are under threat; climate change is exacerbating the problems. Rijkswaterstaat is studying the water quality; Deltares is looking at the severity and development of the problems. Both organisations will formulate possible measures for the Veerse Meer lake. The initial results will follow in late 2023. The Rijkswaterstaat study is a component of the action programme in the Veerse Meer Area Vision for 2023-2030. The aim of this vision document is to safeguard and strengthen the qualities of the area.
- Knowledge and research continue to be important. Knowledge questions about the effects of sea level rise have been given a place in the Sea Level Rise Knowledge Programme. Integrated knowledge questions are being elaborated in the Integrated Knowledge and Innovation Agenda for the Southwest Delta. This agenda provides a picture of the relations and connections between the individual knowledge agendas.
- The Schouwen-Duiveland Living Lab network organisation is seeking new, innovative solutions to complex challenges in the areas of water, food, education and governance. That involves collaboration with educational institutions, business, government authorities, research institutes and local residents. They are testing innovative solutions in practice on the way to a circular economy in Schouwen-Duiveland.
- A large amount of fresh water is released, from the soil and from direct rainfall, at the foot of the Brabantse Wal. This water – about 30 million cubic metres per year – flows into the Western Scheldt without being used. The Brabantse Delta and Scheldestromen water authorities, the provincial authorities of Noord-Brabant and Zeeland, and water company Evides want to put this water to good use. The water can be used for nature development, as water for agriculture and possibly even for drinking water supplies. In 2023, research should indicate whether this is feasible.
- The Delta Programme for the Southwest Delta helps and encourages municipalities to find solutions in the overlap with the area-specific approaches of the provincial authorities. The Area Consultation Platform therefore called for local initiatives from municipalities and partners. In early 2023, it approved five initiatives and projects, including an integrated plan for the use of areas outside the dike in the municipality of Tholen.