Delta Programme Commissioner discusses Delta Programme 2019 with Rijkswaterstaat

The day after Prinsjesdag – the official opening of Parliament – the Delta Programme Commissioner paid his traditional visit to Rijkswaterstaat, the executive branch of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. In the Rijkswaterstaat LEF Future Centre in Utrecht, he discussed the new emphases in Delta Programme 2019 with more than 50 staff and managers involved in the Delta Programme. The new insights regarding an accelerated rise in sea level with effect from 2050 demand, in particular, more and in-depth research in the years ahead.

One conclusion was that Rijkswaterstaat staff will need to take even more account of this greater uncertainty in their designs. Such uncertainty can be accommodated, e.g., by exploring solution options on as wide a scale as possible and by transparent communication on the boundaries of future water system management. The major replacement and reconstruction tasking that will be facing Rijkswaterstaat in the years ahead involves the challenge of devising more adaptive and expandable designs for the replacement of hydraulic structures. One way of dealing with such increasing uncertainty is implementing shorter-cycle improvements and ensuring that designs are expandable to future requirements, as is already being effected with the foundations of the new IJmuiden sea lock and the additional pumping capacity near the IJsselmeer Closure Dam.

The staff have subsequently set to work to explore how these new insights could impact the adaptive strategies for the various regions, thus gaining experience with the work that needs to be done in the year ahead, within the framework of the first review of the course steered by the Delta Programme. They have embarked on their efforts with a great deal of expertise, enthusiasm, and commitment.

Both Delta Programme Commissioner Wim Kuijken and Roeland Allewijn, Director of Flood Protection and Water Issues at Rijkswaterstaat, will be leaving the Delta community in November. The Delta Programme Commissioner extolled Roeland Allewijn’s virtues upon bidding him farewell. From the launch of the Delta Programme, he has made significant contributions in his capacities of manager, substantive expert, and coordinator of the National Water and Climate Knowledge and Innovation Programme. In his turn, Roeland, speaking on behalf of Rijkswaterstaat, thanked the Delta Programme Commissioner for the efficient collaboration and presented him with a farewell gift: a Delta Programme Commissioner’s Storm Coat with a “First Delta Programme Commissioner” print.