The coast protects the Netherlands against flooding from the sea. The coastal zone is home to over a million residents and businesses, and attracts many tourists and visitors. The national Delta Programme comprises several plans and measures to preserve and enhance these functions.
The plans for the coast are based on the Delta Decision on Flood Risk Management and the Decision on Sand. The latter outlines how sand replenishment can protect the Dutch coastline, now and in the future.
The Dutch coastal zone encompasses beaches, dunes, dykes, and seaside resorts harbouring a wide range of functions. The coastal flood defences are currently up to par, but tidal dynamics, wind, and alluvion are causing structural erosion along the coastline. Expectations are that climate change and sea level rise will only exacerbate this erosion. Without regular sand replenishment, the Netherlands would lose an average of one metre of land per year along the entire coastline. In the future, more sand replenishment may be needed.
The challenge entailed in such developments is to keep the coastal zone safe, attractive, and economically viable. New concepts, such as dynamic coastal and dune management, offer good prospects for both flood risk management and other functions. A case in point is the Sand Engine off the Zuid-Holland coast.
The point of departure in the Preferential Strategy for flood risk management along the coast is to keep the coastal zone safe, attractive, and economically viable in the future. In the years ahead, the focus will be on the elaboration of the plans. Wherever possible, the region is pursuing integrated solutions, such as multi-functional dune zones or dykes.
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