Response from Delta Commissioner Peter Glas to Cabinet decision about the leading role of water and soil
“The limits of the water and soil system are coming into view more and more often and in more and more locations,” states Delta Commissioner Peter Glas in response to the Cabinet decision about the leading role of water and soil. “Clearly, this demands a profound change in our thinking and actions.”
“It is a good thing that the Cabinet has today adopted the basic principles so that we can allow water and soil to guide the planning of our country. All government authorities and different sectors can go to work now. That is not only necessary, it is also urgent. When I presented the 2023 Delta Programme, I said that the time for freedom of action is over. We are running up against the limits of what the water and soil system can deliver and cope with. Those limits are coming into view more and more often and in more and more locations. It is clear that this will demand a profound change in our thinking and actions.
We want to continue living here safely and agreeably in the future. So all our efforts in the field of spatial planning must pay more attention to water, soil and the effects of climate change such as sea level rise and more extreme weather. In areas of the country with sandy soils, for example, we drain off rainwater so quickly that water shortages are now a threat. That is leading to pressure on our nature, agriculture and drinking water supplies. We need to retain water better, to restore the natural system of brooks and adapt land use accordingly. We have to adapt our land use in accordance with the water and soil system in areas with sandy soils. In addition, floodplains or deep areas in polders will be very much needed when there is extreme flooding, and we should not make that impossible by building up those areas. So clear decisions are needed about the future-resilient planning of the Netherlands.”