Climate change is adding to the probability of waterlogging, heat, drought, and flooding. This poses risks for our economy, health, and safety. It is of paramount importance for the Netherlands to adapt to such changes. One way to adapt is by rendering our built-up and rural areas climate-proof and water-resilient. The Delta Programme is addressing these goals under the heading of “spatial adaptation”.
If we refrain from taking action, the damage in our cities may rise to between 33 billion and 87 billion euros in the period up to 2050. Rural areas are also prone to major damage. Torrential rain and prolonged precipitation cause waterlogging, whilst at other times, drought may cause damage. Heat causes expansion issues in railways, bridges, and other infrastructure. Furthermore, heat affects the health of vulnerable people, such as the elderly and young children.
Climate change necessitates a change in thinking: climate-proof and water-resilient planning must become a standard element in spatial (re)developments.
Delta Decision and Delta Plan
Spatial adaptation is one of the three topics covered by the Delta Programme. General policy has been set down in the Delta Decision on Spatial Adaptation. The essence of this Decision is that by 2050, the Netherlands must be water-resilient and climate-proof. The central government has anchored the Delta Decision and other spatial adaptation policies in the draft National Water Programme, in the National Environmental Vision, and in the National Climate Adaptation Strategy. Actual measures for the implementation of spatial adaptation policy are outlined in the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation.