Milestone in the Delta Programme; working on a sufficient freshwater supply

Today, in the presence of Delta Programme Commissioner Wim Kuijken, Minister Schultz van Haegen, regional administrators, and other parties such as LTO [Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture], signed administrative agreements on Freshwater Supply, comprising concrete joint agreements to secure the availability of fresh water. Following the investment programme presented in last year’s Delta Programme, the State and the regions will now actively take up the various freshwater supply measures. For example, the capacity of the small-scale water supply in the western Netherlands will be expanded, and the IJsselmeer lake will get a 20 cm buffer in its water level to supply the surrounding regions with fresh water. The Delta Fund will make 150 million euros available to fund the various measures, while the regions will invest approx. 220 million euros.

Freshwater Strategy Delta Decision

´This is a milestone in the Delta Programme. Last year, on Prinsjesdag [the official opening of Parliament in September] I presented the proposed Delta Decisions, including the Delta Decision on Freshwater Supply. Now, hardly a year later, with the signing of these agreements, we are making great strides in our collaboration to achieve a sustainable freshwater supply for our economy. My compliments to all those involved,’ said Delta Programme Commissioner Wim Kuijken. He called on the parties involved to keep up the Delta Programme working method, i.e., joint ownership. Upon the successful completion of this first phase, a second phase may be in store from 2021 onwards.

Six administrative agreements on Freshwater Supply

The challenges in the field of freshwater supply differ from one region to the next. That is why the agreements have been tailored to each specific situation. In the six administrative agreements, arrangements have been set down regarding funding, planning, implementation and accountability with respect to the freshwater supply measures to be scheduled for 2016 and beyond. These measures are primarily focused on tackling bottlenecks and capitalising on opportunities. They render the system more flexible and robust in order to withstand extremes, without hampering long-term ambitions. The new supply levels instrument has also been accommodated in the administrative agreements. Knowing what they can count on is important to water consumers. For that reason, the Delta Decision on Freshwater Supply stipulates that government authorities and consumers mutually agree on supply levels, for both ordinary and dry conditions. 

Freshwater supplies

In addition to the flexible water level in the IJsselmeer region, the measures envisaged for the area around the major rivers involve, for example, more efficient irrigation of the fruit orchards. At the Elevated Sandy Soils, a large number of small-scale measures will be implemented in the years ahead. The capacity of various water courses, such as the Noordervaart, will be expanded. In the province of Zeeland freshwater reserves will be built up in the soil, to be used during the summer. Furthermore, each of the regions has set up climate adaptation pilots and testing grounds in order to explore innovations.