Why is there a Delta Programme?
The aim of the Delta Programme is to protect our country now and in the future against high water and – with a view to the changing climate – to plan it in climate-resilient and water-robust ways. The programme also includes provisions for safeguarding freshwater supplies. Many factors play a role here, not only with respect to spatial quality, the living environment and the economy, but also to nature, agriculture and leisure.
The Netherlands is a low-lying, prosperous and densely populated delta that is susceptible to flooding. If something goes wrong, the consequences are enormous: deaths, injuries, tens of billions of euros in damage. And social disruption. Our delta is too precious not to take the necessary measures. In the past, the Netherlands was taken by surprise with some regularity because flood protection arrangements were inadequate. We now have the best protected delta in the world. We want to keep it that way. The Delta Programme must ensure that we are not taken unawares again by high water and possible sea level rise. Or by extreme weather conditions with extreme consequences such as torrential rainstorms, problems with excess water, land subsidence, heat stress and water shortages. In addition, freshwater supplies are important for our economy and sound arrangements in this respect are also needed for the future. Particularly if longer periods of drought, of the kind seen in the summers of 2018 and 2022, are to become more frequent.