National Freshwater Strategy

Robust freshwater supplies via the main water system are important for making the Netherlands resilient to freshwater shortages. The Climate-Resilient Freshwater Supplies in the Main Water System (KZH) strategy will be expected to provide those robust freshwater supplies. At the heart of that strategy is: the smart distribution of fresh water during dry periods and measures that reduce the vulnerability of the main water system.

The strategy is based on experience acquired during the drought of 2018. At that time, water management authorities retained the available water efficiently and took the steps needed for proper distribution. This was done in part with smart water management: in the event of actual or impending water shortages and salinisation, water is allocated in a flexible way on the basis of current information about the salinisation situation and water demand. No major infrastructural interventions are required. 


An initial elaboration of the principles of the KZH strategy and the strategic freshwater buffers was completed in 2020 and 2021. There will be ongoing elaboration between 2022 and 2027; the final decision will be taken in late 2027.


The essence of the KZH strategy is:

  • Greater flexibility in the allocation of freshwater with the aim of being able to cope with different conditions in the existing infrastructure and varying water needs;
  • Maintaining and managing freshwater buffers in the main water system and preventing the salinisation of intake points;
  • Exploring the options for, and consequences of, designating freshwater buffers in the main water system;
  • Broad tie-in with existing infrastructure and management options;
  • Limited societal costs.