Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply

The Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply comprises all the Delta Programme measures and studies relating to the availability of fresh water in the Netherlands. The Delta Plan is endorsed by the central government and by the freshwater supply regions. 

The Delta Plan also contains agreements on the financial contributions of the central and regional governments. Measures involving the main water system are fully funded from the Delta Fund. With respect to regional measures, 75 per cent is funded by the relevant regions; a maximum of 25 per cent of the costs is compensated from the Delta Fund. The Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply has been substantiated in detail for the six years ahead, with an outline schedule for the subsequent six years. It also looks ahead to 2050. 

Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply Phase 1

The implementation of the Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply Phase I [2015-2021] is largely on schedule. Recent milestones include the successful pursuit of smart water management during the dry summers of 2018 and 2019; the completion of regional water availability processes in urgent areas; and the increasing interconnection between municipal stress tests and risk dialogues. For example, the provinces of Limburg and Noord-Brabant set down a collective South Netherlands Climate Adaptation Implementation Programme in 2020. 

The agenda for the years ahead features several remaining measures, such as the further implementation of the IJsselmeer Water Level Ordinance and measures pertaining to the Southwest Delta. A full list of measures is provided in the Delta Programme.

Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply Phase II

The measures for the second phase of the Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply were set down in the spring of 2021. The Delta Plan comprises more than 150 measures, divided into five categories: 

  • infrastructural modifications of engineering structures; 
  • innovative projects; 
  • adaptations to the water system in rural and urban areas (water retention in local and regional water systems), adaptations to water consumption (economising by users), and spatial adaptations of land use; 
  • use of alternative freshwater sources;  
  • improvements in the information provision, such as monitoring programmes and modelling. 

Regional agreements

Agreements on responsibilities, funding, distribution of costs, and the scheduling of measures have been set down in regional administrative agreements. Each Freshwater Supply Region is doing what is needed, step by step. The Freshwater Supply Regions are: North Netherlands, Elevated Sandy Soils East, Elevated Sandy Soils South, Rivers Area, West Netherlands, and the Southwest Delta. Measures are also being implemented in the main water system. 

Policy Platform on Drought

In its final report (2019), the Drought Policy Platform included several recommendations that are being addressed by the government authorities. The recommendations pertain to, inter alia, groundwater management at the Elevated Sandy Soils; the elaboration of the water availability instrument; and the promotion of climate-adaptive farming.