Freshwater Delta Plan

The Freshwater Delta Plan includes measures and studies relating to the availability of fresh water in the Netherlands. The national government and the freshwater regions draw up the Delta Plan. The Delta Plan also sets out agreements about the financial contributions of the national government and regional authorities. The Delta Fund funds the implementation of measures in the main water system. The regional measures are financed as follows: 75% from the regions and a maximum of 25% from the Delta Fund. The Freshwater Delta Plan has been worked out in detail for the next six years and in outline for the six years thereafter. It also looks ahead to 2050. 

Freshwater Delta Plan phase 1

The implementation of phase 1 of the Freshwater Delta Plan (2015-2021) has now been largely completed. A total of 51 measures were implemented during this period, and nine smaller measures were completed in 2024. Recent milestones include the successful deployment of smart water management during the dry summers of 2018 and 2019, the completion of area processes for water availability in urgent areas, and the increasing coordination of stress tests and risk dialogues in municipalities. A number of projects are still continuing in part. They include the Climate Resilient Water Channel (KWA), the Implementation of the water level decree for the IJsselmeer, Texel’s Fresh Future, the Zeeland Freshwater Living Lab and Noordervaart. The full list of measures can be found in the Freshwater Delta Plan phase 1. 

Freshwater Delta Plan Phase 2

The measures for the second phase of the Freshwater Delta Plan were adopted in 2021 and implementation began in 2022. 

More than half of the investments in this phase are planned for the High-Lying Areas with Sandy Soils with the aim of making the switch to better water retention. Other measures focus on the more effective and efficient distribution of the available water, the use of alternative sources (such as effluent and brackish seepage), and the more robust/climate-robust structuring and management of the water system. Investments are also being made in innovations in areas such as agriculture. 

In preparation for the third phase of the Freshwater Delta Plan, the freshwater objectives will be further concretised. To what extent do the measures contribute to attaining the objective? Do the measures provide direction for orchestration with other transitions? It is important to continue investing in freshwater availability, even after 2027. 

Regional agreements

The Specific Allowance Arrangement (SPUK) includes agreements about responsibilities, finances, cost-sharing and the planning of all measures. Some regions also adopted regional administrative agreements. Each freshwater region is doing what is needed step by step. The freshwater regions are: Northern Netherlands, High-Lying Areas with Sandy Soils East, High-Lying Areas with Sandy Soils South, the River Area, Western Netherlands and the Southwest Delta. 

Drought Policy Platform

The final report (2019) of the Drought Policy Platform contains recommendations that the various government authorities have started working on. The recommendations relate to groundwater management in the High-Lying Areas with Sandy Soils, detailed arrangements for water availability and encouraging climate-adaptive agriculture.  

Contact for Fresh Water