What is the Delta Programme based on?

The Delta Programme was drawn up in a characteristically Dutch, down-to-earth, way and with a clear vision. It stands for a safe and flexible approach: implementing now the measures that are needed, while keeping enough options open to tackle future problems. In other words, the programme works according to the principle of adaptive delta management. 

The Delta Programme bases its thinking about future climate developments on the KNMI scenarios from 2023. Over the past century, sea levels have risen, the land has subsided, and temperatures have increased: we measure these indicators over a series of years. That trend is continuing, as shown by figures from the KNMI. We must take the possibility of heavier rainfall into consideration during spatial planning in our country. In addition, summers are getting drier, threatening freshwater supplies. The Delta Programme includes measures to maintain the safety of our delta in the short term and it provides guidance to prepare for the future. The climate scenarios and the socio-economic scenarios are combined in ‘delta scenarios’. The delta scenarios guide the preferred strategies and measures. 

Because we don’t know exactly how the climate will actually change, flexibility is an important element when measures are being selected. An example of a flexible measure of this kind is sand nourishment on the coast. Sand is brought in on the basis of the measured sea level rise. And if the sea level rises faster, more sand will be applied. If the rate of rise slows slightly, less sand will be needed. The Room for the River programme is another good example.