Delta Programme Commissioner visits Climate-proof Water Supply project

On Friday, 7 June Delta Programme Commissioner Peter Glas met with market gardeners to discuss the necessity of a sufficient freshwater supply during periods of extreme drought. The meetings took place within the context of the Delta Programme Commissioner’s working visit to the Climate-proof Water Supply Capacity Expansion project, a component of the Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply.

Sufficient fresh water of vital importance

The tree nurseries in Boskoop depend on a sufficient supply of fresh water for their operations. During extremely dry summers, such as that of last year, insufficient supplies of fresh water are available in the western part of the Netherlands. As a result of decreasing river water discharges, saline sea water can penetrate deep into the land. The saltwater wedge then reaches even as far as the pumping station near Gouda, a key inlet for the western part of the Netherlands. This requires the inlet to be shut down. In this event, an additional supply of fresh water via the Stichtse Rijnlanden area is of vital importance to the market gardeners in Boskoop and other farmers in the west.

The Climate-proof Water Supply+ project

The additional water supply from the Stichtse Rijnlanden is referred to as the Climate-proof Water Supply. Via small rivers and canals, fresh water from the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal and the River Lek is transported to Gouda and Bodegraven. In 2018, this Climate-proof Water Supply was operational from the end of July until the end of September.

Currently, the need for this type of additional fresh water arises approx. once every eight years. As a result of climate change and growing water requirements, this need is increasing, and the supply routes will be used more frequently. In order to be able to supply these additional volumes of water, the capacity of the Climate-proof Water Supply must be expanded. The Rijnland and Stichtse Rijnlanden district water control boards are collaborating on this project.

For Delta Programme Commissioner Peter Glas, this capacity expansion project constitutes an example of solidarity between the regions, which is essential in order for us to continue to live and work safely and comfortably in this densely populated delta.

Status of water supply capacity expansion

In the Stichtse Rijnlanden region, measures need to be implemented at several locations. In the Lopikerwaard polder, the district water board is going to widen and/or deepen several ditches and watercourses. In some stretches, narrows, in the form of bridges and sluices, hamper the transfer of water. At these locations, the flow capacity will be expanded. Dredging of the Gekanaliseerde Hollandsche IJssel, which has already been scheduled, will also improve the transfer of water.

The Delta Programme Commissioner visited several important locations along the Climate-proof Water Supply routes. He also dropped in at the Boezemgemaal pumping station near Gouda and the Polsbroek junction (municipality of Lopik), where several measures need to be implemented. He spoke with the end users of the water, the Boskoop market gardeners and the Lopikerwaard farmers, who will benefit from the measures that have been scheduled.

The measures are intended to expand the water supply from 7 m3 to 15 m3 per second when the Climate-proof Water Supply is operational. This involves an investment of EUR 40 million.