Knowledge development and monitoring

Knowledge is crucial for the Delta Programme. It serves as the basis for important decisions in areas including safety, the economy and the living environment in the Netherlands. That is why the Delta Programme is devoting a great deal of attention to applying, developing and sharing knowledge.  

The Delta Programme uses the methods and techniques to collect the latest knowledge. 

The National Water and Climate Knowledge and Innovation Programme (NKWK)

The Netherlands wants to establish and maintain a leading position worldwide in the field of water management. If we make our country water-robust and climate-resilient, the Netherlands will establish a distinct profile for itself at the international level. Establishing and maintaining a leading position means continuously innovating and developing knowledge. The Delta Programme does this in the National Water and Climate Knowledge and Innovation Programme (NKWK) in collaboration with government authorities and knowledge institutes. Knowledge questions that require different parties to work together come to the NKWK and they are answered in an effective and efficient way. The results can be useful for the business community. 

The Delta Instruments

The decisions, strategies and measures in the Delta Programme must be substantively sound. The Delta instruments were developed to ensure that all the sub-programmes in the Delta Programme use the same up-to-date knowledge and methods. They consist of: 

The National Water Model

The Delta Programme makes all predictions and analyses relating to water with this model. That can include flood risk management, freshwater supplies and water quality. 

The Delta Scenarios

The Delta Programme looks ahead to 2050 and 2100 and outlines possible futures. What will the climate be like during the next century? And which socio-economic developments can we expect in the coming decades? Working with different visions of the future ensures that the Netherlands is well prepared.  

The Delta Scenarios provide qualitative and quantitative information about the climate, water systems, water use and land use. The qualitative information consists of storylines and maps. The quantitative data consist of indicators and time series for factors like temperature, precipitation, land subsidence and salinisation. 

There is growing evidence that sea levels may be rising faster than previously expected in the Delta Scenarios. The probability of severe rainstorms and prolonged drought would also appear to be higher than previously assumed. The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) will publish new climate scenarios in 2023. The Delta Scenarios will be updated on the basis of those scenarios. 

Deltafacts, knowledge conferences and knowledge network

Sharing knowledge is just as important as developing knowledge. It can be done in a variety of ways:

Delta Facts

These are online knowledge dossiers containing a brief summary of what is known about a particular topic. Water managers can use this information during decision-making. Deltafacts were developed as part of the Deltaproof programme of the Foundation for Applied Water Research (STOWA) and the joint water authorities. 

Knowledge conferences

A knowledge conference has taken place every year since 2011. Since 2015, the National Water and Climate Knowledge and Innovation Programme has been responsible for organising the conferences. The conferences take stock of the current situation: what do we know, what knowledge is being developed, and what knowledge do we still need? 

Delta Programme Knowledge Network

This network consists of representatives of the themes and areas covered by the Delta Programme and representatives of knowledge institutes. It discusses the knowledge required, the knowledge on offer and ways to access it. The knowledge institutes involved include Deltares, the Environmental Research Agency (PBL), the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), STOWA, Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University and Research. 

Knowledge agenda

Innovations and answers to knowledge questions are needed for the optimal implementation of the Delta Programme. Those knowledge questions, which emerge from the themes and areas of the Delta Programme, are brought together in the knowledge agenda. The agenda includes application-oriented knowledge, innovations (technical and otherwise) and in-depth research. Once every two years, the agenda is updated and included as a background document accompanying the Delta Programme.  

he knowledge questions from the knowledge agenda are also included in the knowledge development programmes of, for example, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Rijkswaterstaat and the KNMI. The elaboration of these questions has already resulted, for example, in the new knowledge and innovation agenda, contracts from the Water Top Sector and water- and climate-related questions in the Blue Route of the National Science Agenda.

Signal Group

The Delta Programme is all about adaptive delta management: responding flexibly to changing circumstances and implementing appropriate measures in good time. The Delta Programme Signal Group monitors changes in the climate, sea level, hydrology and land use with indicators that relate to both the past and the future. This makes it clear when changes may be required to the course or pace of the Delta Programme. An overview of monitoring series for those indicators can be found in the ‘Signal Portal’. 

The Signal Group consists of substantive experts from authoritative knowledge institutes that are relevant for the Delta Programme. Currently, these are: 

  • the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
  • the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL)
  • the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP)
  • Deltares
  • Wageningen University & Research (WUR)
  • Rijkswaterstaat – Water, Transport & Living Environment (RWS-WVL)
  • Statistics Netherlands (CBS)

The recommendations of the Signal Group are included in the annual Delta Programme. The recommendations can be found by consulting the overview of publications.