Background to the Delta Programme

In 2007, the Cabinet appointed a committee chaired by former Minister Cees Veerman. In 2008, this Delta Committee presented an advisory report concerning the measures our country requires to improve its flood risk management, and to keep its freshwater supply up to par during the century ahead, factoring in climatological and social developments. According to the Committee, the water issue facing the Netherlands is not acute, but it does call for urgent attention

Flood protection

The Delta Committee was asked to provide answers to the following questions: How can the Netherlands be protected from flooding? And how can we ensure that the Netherlands remains an attractive country in which to live, work and recreate? In response, the Committee has investigated topics such as:

  • water;
  • living conditions;
  • working;
  • leisure activities;
  • agriculture;
  • nature;
  • infrastructure (construction);
  • spatial planning.

The advisory report drawn up by the Delta Committee focuses on two goals:

  • flood protection;
  • securing a sufficient supply of fresh water.

The Delta Committee came to the conclusion that our flood protections must be improved. The agreements on flood protection in force at that time dated from the 1960s. According to the Committee, those agreements were outdated.

12 recommendations by the Delta Committee

The Delta Committee has drawn up 12 recommendations pertaining to:

  • safety standards for Dutch dikes and dams;
  • construction in areas with an increased flood risk;
  • the areas requiring particular attention: the North Sea coast, the Wadden Region, the Southwest Delta, the area around the major rivers, the Rhine estuary, and the IJsselmeer Region;
  • the administrative, organisational and financial aspects of flood protection measures.

Delta Act

The Committee’s key recommendation involved the creation of a Delta Act. The Delta Act stipulates that a Delta Programme must be presented annually, it contains agreements regarding the responsibilities and authorities of the Delta Programme Commissioner, and sets out agreements regarding the funding of the Delta Programme. The full recommendations of the Delta Committee are contained in the advisory report ‘Samen werken met water’  [Working together with water].

The Cabinet sets great store by the report drawn up by the Delta Committee and has adopted its recommendations. Consequently, we now have a Delta Programme, a Delta Programme Commissioner , and a Delta Fund.