The Netherlands is a low-lying country where the rivers, the IJsselmeer and the North Sea provide an abundance of water. The delta must protect itself against flooding and ensure a sufficient fresh-water supply. The Netherlands must also prepare itself for rising sea levels, soil subsidence and higher temperatures. The Delta Programme is designed to rise to these challenges. The knowledge issues from this Delta Programme return in the National Water and Climate Knowledge and Innovation Programme (abbreviated to NKWK in Dutch), which has been operational since 2015.
The NKWK comprises of fourteen research tracks, in which government authorities, knowledge institutes and companies collaborate on pilot projects, topical issues and long-term developments. The NKWK serves as the Dutch Wing of the Delta Alliance.
>> Read more: NKWK programme
>> Read more: NKWK research tracks
The Dutch Delta
The Netherlands is a river delta. In the past the rivers flowed to the sea without restraint. Today they are largely contained by groynes and dykes.
The current rivers area consists of the river basins of the Meuse, IJssel, Scheldt and Rhine.
In the west there is a densely populated coastal zone that is home to the Randstad conurbation – the economic heart of the Netherlands.
It has a population of 9 million people and accounts for 70 percent of the total income earned.
Activities / News
- Forward looking decision making in the Dutch delta
Dr Wieke Pot defended in March 2020 her PhD thesis ‘Deciding for tomorrow today; what makes governmental decisions about water infrastructure forward looking’. She addresses the criteria for, and measurements of, a forward-looking decision that define whether a governmental investment decision can qualify as forward looking. Furthermore, she looks into enabling conditions and clusters the strategies and mechanisms into five main interaction processes that shape the extent to which governmental investment decisions about water infrastructure become forward looking. The work introduces a new theory of forward-looking decision making. The theory can be used to assess, explain, and improve the extent to which governments make forward-looking decisions about their water infrastructure. Applying this to infrastructure investment decisions reveals the extent to which, and the reasons why, governments use methods and tools to support decisions about long-term solutions and long-term problems.
Wageningen University & Research, Monday 14 December 2020
- Strategic Delta Planning: Strengthening strategic delta planning processes in Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Vietnam and beyond
The Strategic Delta Planning research project (2014-2020), aiming at a better understanding of the dynamics of delta planning, is a collaboration between 11 Bangladesh, Dutch and Vietnamese organisations, and looks back and presents its major findings for strategic planners and other delta professionals.
NWO funded programme 'Urbanising Deltas of the World', Monday 23 December 2019
- The Sand Motor
5 years of buidling with nature: Every year, the sea takes sand from the Dutch coast. Every five years, Rijkswaterstaat replenishes the shortfall by depositing sand on the beaches and in the offshore area. If we didn't, the west of the Netherlands, which is below sea level, would be exposed to the sea. The sand replenishment operations every five years do the job, but can we protect the coast in more sustainable and natural ways?
- Marker Wadden
Natuurmonumenten (Dutch Society for Nature Conservation) is going to restore one of the largest freshwater lakes in western Europe by constructing islands, marshes and mud flats from the sediments that have accumulated in the lake in recent decades. These 'Marker Wadden' will form a unique ecosystem that will boost biodiversity in the Netherlands.
- Blue Energy
Blue Energy stands for the generation of power from the difference in salt concentration of salt and fresh water. A test set-up is currently operating in Breezanddijk (Afsluitdijk), which we are using to gain knowledge about this new method for power generation. The power station uses water from the Wadden Sea and the IJsselmeer. If the tests are successful, we may upscale the project to create a demonstration installation.
- Tidal Technology Center in Grevelingendam
When completed in 2017/2018, Tidal Technology Center at the Grevelingendam (TTC-GD) will provide owners of new technologies in tidal energy with the means to test, certify and showcase their products in fully operational tidal context. It will also provide a demonstration setup of 4 turbines capable of producing 0.5 – 1.0 MWe of energy.
- I-Storm, International Network for Storm Surge Barriers
The I-STORM network brings together professionals that build, manage, operate and maintain Storm Surge Barriers. I-STORM aims to continuously improve standards of operation, management and performance in order to reduce the risk of severe flooding of people, property and places around the world, by facilitating knowledge exchange amongst members.
- Interreg project Building with Nature
Sustainable North Sea Region, protecting against climate change and preserving the environment
- Dutch Water Act
The new Water Act has created a framework for the modernisation of Dutch water management required for the coming decades. The integration of a number of authorisations will reduce administrative burden for citizens and businesses. The Water Act links up well with the new Spatial Planning Act, which will enhance the relationship with spatial environmental policy.
> Read more: Activities / News archive
- Strategic Delta Planning: Strengthening strategic delta planning processes in Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Vietnam and beyond The Strategic Delta Planning research project (2014-2020), aiming at a better understanding of the dynamics of delta planning, is a collaboration between 11 Bangladesh, Dutch and Vietnamese organisations, and looks back and presents its major findings for strategic planners and other delta professionals.
NWO funded programme 'Urbanising Deltas of the World', Monday 23 December 2019
- Publication: Hydraulic engineering in the social-ecological delta: understanding the interplay between social, ecological, and technological systems in the Dutch delta by means of “delta trajectories”
Several of the world's largest deltas have recently been conceptualized as social-ecological delta systems. Although such conceptualizations are valuable in emphasizing complex interaction between social actors and ecological processes in deltas, they do not go into specific dynamics that surround technological developments in the hydraulic domain. By drawing from concepts originating in socio-technical systems research, we stress the importance of technology, particularly the domain of hydraulic engineering, in shaping a delta’s future.
Martijn F. van Staveren, Jan P. M. van Tatenhove in Ecology and Society, Monday 18 January 2016
- Reactive versus anticipative adaptive management of Deltas; The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Rhine-Meuse Delta compared In this paper Californian Adaptive Management (AM) and Dutch Adaptive Delta Management (ADM) are compared. The concepts are introduced in a policy context to deal with prevailing types of uncertainty in water management in the Californian Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Dutch Rhine-Meuse Delta respectively. T.J. Vlieg and M. Zandvoort in Water Governance 05-06, 2013
- Delta Alliance electronic board room session. The Rhine-Meuse delta, the Netherlands , Cees van de Guchte & Bart Makaske, Deltares & Alterra, the Netherlands (2010). Presented at the international conference Deltas in Times of Climate Change, 29 September - 1 October, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
- Watch the Knowledge for Climate Research Programme Videos related to the Dutch Delta on the Youtube channel (English subtitles).