Eighth national Delta Conference: Continuing the work on a sustainable and safe delta

On Thursday, 2 November, with the words “Everything comes together in water” Ferd Crone, Mayor of Leeuwarden and Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute KNMI opened the eighth Delta Conference in Leeuwarden. Delta Programme Commissioner Wim Kuijken discussed various topics with day chair Inge Diepman, including the ever-increasing necessity of joining forces in order to remain prepared for the consequences of weather extremes. He also pointed out how remarkable it is to have the delta community represented by so many again at this conference. “And the community appears to grow in size every year,” said Inge Diepman. The auditorium held more than 1500 delegates.

Professor Maarten Hajer captivated the audience with his keynote address entitled “Looking forward to the future: time for imagination”, in which he made a plea for embracing creativity: “making the existing more efficient is not a solution”. He also explained that climate mitigation and adaptation should be addressed under a single strategy.

On behalf of the umbrella organisations involved (Association of Netherlands Municipalities VNG, Association of Provincial Authorities IPO, and Association of Dutch Regional Water Authorities UvW), Hans Oosters reflected on the new coalition agreement. He mentioned that the Cabinet intends to conclude an administrative agreement with the local and regional governments regarding the climate. For that reason, Mr Oosters’ assumption is that under such agreement, funds will be set aside for, inter alia, spatial adaptation.

The plenary session was rounded off by Government Prosecutor Liesbeth Schippers, who stated that legalities must never impede the collective tackling of weather extremes and their impact.

Parallel sessions

Several parallel sessions focused on the substantiation of the Delta Programme themes. Special attention was paid to the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation. As a result, the parallel session “Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation: so how?” drew a full house. The parallel session on freshwater supply, flood risk management, and governance also attracted a great deal of interest. In the parallel sessions on climate change, various future scenarios were discussed, as was the rising sea level. The participants attending this session agreed that media meteorologists have an important duty in raising awareness among the residents of the Netherlands.

34 sub-programmes and partners presented themselves at the Delta Parade: the spot to meet one another, supply and collect information, and gain new insights. Throughout the day, several break-out sessions focused on all the aspects of the Delta Programme.


Every year, the Delta Programme Commissioner turns the spotlight onto an individual or project from the Delta Programme. This year, Wim Kuijken opted for the expansion of the Climate-proof Water Supply in Central Netherlands (KWA). The KWA is a system to supply the western part of the Netherlands with additional freshwater in periods of severe drought. A remarkable project, because it involves measures to be implemented in the Stichtse Rijnlanden district in order to ensure a sufficient supply of freshwater in the Rijnland district during times of drought. KWA Project Leader Peter Hesen was pleased with this fine recognition and the incentive award.