Delta Programme 2013

The third Delta Programme (DP2013) was presented in 2012 on Prinsjesdag (the state opening of parliament). With the entry into force of the Delta Act, for the first time it was presented together with the budget for the Delta Fund. 

The scope of our water-safety issues has become clearer since the second Delta Programme. National monitoring of the dikes (“MOT” for dikes) showed that a sizeable number of them do not meet the standards. In addition, at the end of 2011, the results of analyses of the social costs and benefits of flood defences and the risk in terms of victims due to flooding, became available. The studies show that for large parts of the Netherlands, the safety level is sufficient; however, a number of areas could require a higher safety level. The delta scenarios provide insight into possible future developments. For the freshwater supply, these have been translated into problems and damage to water-user functions like agriculture, shipping and energy provision.

This knowledge was used in the development of possible strategies for keeping the Netherlands safe from high water and for ensuring an adequate freshwater supply. The DP2013 focuses on these possible solutions, in particular those involving the Delta Decisions.

While the possible strategies were being researched, several were discarded because they were technically not feasible, because they would increase the problem or because less expensive and better alternatives exist. 

Several conclusions from the DP2013:

  • It is not necessary to raise the standards for the whole of the Netherlands by a factor of ten, as was recommended by the second Delta Committee. However, the water safety standards in parts of the country are in need of updating, particularly in the rivers area, parts of the Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden region and at Almere. A basic level will apply in the Netherlands as a whole, and no one will be adversely effected in terms of (water) safety.
  • Fresh-water supply: the water system can be more robust. Possible measures include: taking action to optimise water distribution in the main water system, limiting saline penetration in the west and ensuring an alternative freshwater supply system. In addition, water users will have to adapt to the amount of water that is available (adaptation).
  • In the Rivers Region, Rhine Estuary-Drechtsteden and the South-western Delta (the Rhine-Meuse Delta) in the long term, combinations of strengthening dikes and widening rivers, linked to area development are sufficient to keep these areas safe from high water. For the protection of a few areas, including Alblasserwaard and Krimpenerwaard and along the River Lek, other more drastic measures are needed to keep safety at the right level.
  • The dramatic increase of 1.5 metres in the water level of the IJsselmeer is definitely no longer a consideration. The freshwater supply can be sufficiently increased with a lower rise, in combination with flexible management of the water level in the summer months. In the long term, pumps will be needed to discharge surplus water.

In addition, the Delta Programme 2013 pays greater attention to multi-layered safety. The first level of safety is prevention (dikes, dunes, barriers and dams). This is and remains the basis of our safety from high water. But the spatial planning of the area behind the dikes can also contribute to water safety by limiting the effects of flooding. That is the second layer of multi-layered safety. The third layer is emergency management which also contributes to safety. This way of working on safety will be fleshed out in the coming two years in all areas by seeking intelligent combinations.