What are the consequences of the new policy relating to flood risk management for the standards that apply to our dikes?
The basic principles of the Dutch flood risk management policy are crucial for the lives of both current and future generations in our delta. The new policy results in new standards for our primary flood defences.
The guiding principle in the new standards is to provide a base level of protection for every individual living behind the dikes, with the probability of drowning not exceeding 1 in 100,000 a year anywhere in the Netherlands. This level has been formulated as standard specifications, which are stated as flood probabilities, for the flood defences.
Where this probability of flooding could result in major economic damage or large numbers of casualties, the standards for the relevant flood defences have been made stricter. This means that the new policy for flood risk management affords at least the same base level of protection for everyone behind our dikes. This is not the case in the current policy.
In accordance with the Delta Act, the Delta Commissioner issues an annual proposal for measures to be taken to maintain a proper level of flood protection and freshwater supplies. The water authorities, with Rijkswaterstaat, are responsible for looking after the flood defences. Resources are available from the Delta Fund for maintenance and upgrade operations associated with the new standards for flood risk management.
Despite all these efforts, we can never completely rule out the possibility of flooding. The Delta Programme therefore also focuses on mitigating the consequences of floods, for example by maintaining essential facilities and organising evacuations. The Delta Commissioner monitors progress and reports to the Cabinet and the House of Representatives.