Preferential Strategy for the Southwest Delta

The ambitions set out in the national Delta Programme for the Southwest Delta have been elaborated into a Preferential Strategy.

De Preferential Strategy for the Southwest Delta ensues from the Delta Decisions on Flood Risk Management, on the Rhine-Meuse Delta, on Freshwater Supply, and on Spatial Adaptation. The Strategy was updated in 2020. In addition to flood risk management and the freshwater supply, it also pursues ecological resilience, as a resilient ecology constitutes the basis for a viable economy and a sustainable living environment in the Southwest Delta. Working on ecological resilience is essential in order to curb the adverse effects of human interventions, such as the Delta Works. The Preferential Strategy has been elaborated into a set of measures for the Southwest Delta.

Flood Risk Management

The Preferential Strategy sets out how we can keep the existing flood defences up to par until 2050, in accordance with the current insights and standards In every dyke improvement project, options for innovative dykes are explored. These are dykes that offer short-term opportunities for, e.g., nature, leisure activities, cultural heritage or housing.
In addition, separate strategies have been formulated for: 

  • Grevelingen and Volkerak-Zoommeer lakes. This strategy is aimed at interconnecting flood risk management and freshwater supply with ecology and the economy.
  • Oosterschelde estuary and Veerse Meer lake. The open closable strategy for the Oosterschelde estuary is aimed at future-proof optimisation of the closure regime of the storm surge barrier, (innovative) dyke improvement, shoal nourishment, and foreshore nourishment. The strategy for Lake Veerse Meer involves the optimisation of water level management. 
  • Westerschelde. This strategy focuses on (innovative) dyke improvements in combination with efficient sediment management and optimisation of the dredging and deposit strategies.
  • Coast and Foredelta. The flood protection strategy, which involves having the coast and foredelta keep pace with the rising sea level, will be linked to spatial ambitions.

Freshwater supply

The Southwest Delta features two large freshwater basins which are supplied from the rivers: the Biesbosch/Hollandsch-Diep/Haringvliet and Lake Volkerak-Zoommeer. The freshwater supply strategy is aimed at preserving and wherever possible optimising the freshwater supply to the surrounding areas, for as long as possible. In addition, the Southwest Delta comprises areas surrounded by saline water, without any external freshwater supply options. With respect to such areas, the strategy focuses on more efficient rainwater retention in the soil and on optimising water consumption by businesses.

Spatial adaptation 

The Southwest Delta encompasses three Spatial Adaptation Working Regions: Zeeland, Goeree-Overflakkee, and South-Netherlands. Each of these Regions is developing its own strategy. In Zeeland, the provincial parties have drawn up a Zeeland Climate Adaptation Strategy Action Plan and have signed a covenant. The focus is on a resilient freshwater supply and multi-layer flood risk management: a combination of flood prevention, impact reducing spatial planning measures, and disaster control. Goeree-Overflakkee will be developing its own adaptation strategy in 2020. The associated measures will be accommodated in existing plans, such as the Urban Water Programme. Furthermore, the strategy seeks to link up with initiatives relating to other major taskings, such as the Heat Transition Vision and the Regional Energy Strategy. 
The provinces of Noord-Brabant and Limburg have joined forces in the South-Netherlands Climate Adaptation Implementation Programme. Two of the thirteen Working Regions are located in West-Brabant and form part of the Southwest Delta. The province of Noord-Brabant has mapped out the climate risks, is supporting municipalities in conducting risk dialogues, and has developed the Climate Portal, intended to share knowledge.

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  • Measures pertaining to the Southwest Delta