What does the new flood risk management policy entail for our dyke standards?

The basic principles of the Dutch flood risk management policy constitute a topic that is essential to life in our delta, for both current and future generations. The new flood risk management policy entails new standards for our primary water defences.

The point of departure for the new standards is to offer a basic protection level to each individual living behind the dykes, whereby the risk of drowning must not exceed 1:100,000 (10-5) per annum anywhere in the Netherlands. This basic protection level has subsequently been translated into standard specifications for the flood defence systems, expressed in flood risks.

Wherever this flood risk could result in major economic damage or large numbers of casualties, the standard for the relevant flood defence system has been made more rigorous. Thus, the new flood risk management policy means that everyone behind our dykes can at least count on the same basic protection. This is not the case under the current policy.

Under the Delta Act, the Delta Programme Commissioner prepares an annual proposal for the measures required to keep up our flood protection and freshwater supply. Responsibility for the flood defence systems is vested with the district water boards, together with Rijkswaterstaat, the executive branch of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Resources from the Delta Fund are available to maintain and adapt the flood defence systems to the new standards.

Despite all these efforts, the risk of flooding can never be ruled out altogether. That is why the Delta Programme also pays attention to reducing the impact of a flood, for example, by maintaining vital functions and executing evacuations. The Delta Programme Commissioner monitors the progress made and reports on it to the Cabinet and the House of Representatives.