Delta Plan for Flood Risk Management

The Delta Plan for Flood Risk Management includes all the research, measures and facilities that contribute to protecting the Netherlands against flooding. The details of the plan have been set out for the next six years and the outlines have been drafted for the six years thereafter. The plan also looks ahead to 2050. 

The measures are largely financed from the Delta Fund. Water authorities and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management each contribute half of the financing for the dike upgrades in the Flood Protection Programme (HWBP). In a few cases, regional organisations also contribute. The full list of measures can be found in the Delta Programme.

Implementation programmes

The Delta Plan for Flood Risk Management describes the progress, programming, planning, and phasing of the flood risk management projects. The projects are carried out under a range of implementation programmes. Sand management operations along the coast are covered by management and maintenance, and are not therefore included in the Delta Plan for Flood Risk Management. The scheduled nourishment operations are listed in the Coastline Maintenance Implementation Programme.

Flood Protection Programme

The HWBP is a ‘programme in motion’. It covers a period of six years and also looks ahead to the six years thereafter. The twenty-one water authorities and Rijkswaterstaat are working together in the programme on keeping the Netherlands water-secure. The aim of the programme is for all primary flood defences to comply with the standards by 2050. Everyone in the Netherlands who lives behind a primary flood defence must have at least the base protection level of 1 in 100,000 annually by 2050 at the latest (0.001 %). Approximately 1,500 kilometres of dikes and more than 400 engineering structures will be upgraded. The HWBP also includes projects for knowledge development and innovation.  

The HWBP is leading the way in the use of zero-emission equipment. The alliance monitors the structural safeguarding of sustainability and spatial quality in all its projects as part of the evaluation of the Programmatic Approach to Sustainability and Spatial Quality. The aim of this approach is to support the transition to sustainable, climate-neutral and circular dike upgrades with spatial quality. In addition to the increasing focus on circularity and sustainability, nature and biodiversity will be higher on the agenda.  

Other projects

The Delta Plan for Flood Risk Management also includes other programmes and projects. There is a Foreshore Deposits programme, in which the foreshores of the flood defences at 27 locations in Zeeland are being strengthened by depositing rock. The foreshores at all those locations must be strong by 2026. 

Another example is the Afsluitdijk barrier dam project. The upgrade has been in progress since 2018 and the focus is on strengthening the Afsluitdijk and increasing the discharge capacity from the IJsselmeer. The full length of the dike will be strengthened in an innovative way, flood gates will be installed in the channels and the discharge sluices will be reinforced. New pumping stations and discharge sluices will be added. This project is part of the De Nieuwe Afsluitdijk programme, which also includes projects of regional partners. 

Room for the river in conjunction with dike upgrades 

In order to make it possible to comply with standards for flood risk management, the Rhine and the Meuse must be able to discharge enough river water to the sea. This is crucial for all users and activities in the river area. As a result of climate change, heavy rainfall and high water levels in the rivers are becoming more frequent and this means that the rivers need to be able to discharge more water. The Delta Plan for Flood Risk Management therefore provides for a combination of dike upgrades and river widening. This combination will be shaped in the Integrated River Management (IRM), which is preparing for integrated measures that will be effective in situations with both high and low discharges.  

National defences programme

Rijkswaterstaat is in charge of 530 kilometres of national flood defences and 211 kilometres of primary flood defences, including the six Dutch storm surge barriers. These defences must also comply with the standards before 2050. The first report on the integrity of the national defences was completed in 2021. This states that approximately 67 percent of the dike sections meet the standard. Approximately 63% of the engineering structures serving as flood defences meet the standards. The assessments of the national defences on the basis of the new flood risk management standards and an initial Primary National Flood Defences Implementation Programme were completed in 2023. Action perspectives are currently being drafted for the defences that do not comply with the standard. The Delta Fund has over € 800 million available for the upgrading of the national flood defences. The national programme team for the National Defences provides support for the seven Rijkswaterstaat regions. 

Contact for Flood Risk Management

Programme manager: Bart Kornman (