Water availability in second phase of Delta Programme

The Netherlands is facing major challenges associated with climate change. Sea levels are rising and our rivers need to discharge more water. At the same time, the climate is getting warmer and drier. That has a major impact on freshwater allocation. In addition, the water system is changing due to interventions by third parties, examples being the construction of a new sea lock at IJmuiden and the deepening of the Nieuwe Waterweg near Rotterdam. Our understanding of the climate is also changing and we are acquiring new knowledge about the water system. In 2018, the Freshwater Delta Programme aims to establish a picture of the difficulties relating to the allocation and availability of freshwater in the benchmark year 2021 and in the medium and long terms (2050/2085).


This problem analysis will draw on the latest knowledge and insights to establish a basis for measures in the second phase of the Freshwater Delta Programme (2022-2028). The approach moves from the broad to the detailed levels. The National Water Model provides a basic calculation of water movements in the Netherlands, making it possible to establish an overview of bottlenecks in the supply and demand of freshwater in different scenarios. This national analysis is used as a basis for the detailed study of a number of ‘hotspots’ where it is expected that policy decisions will be required for the next phase. A Quick Scan tool can be used to explore possible measures and their effects in short time.

Problem analysis

In the Freshwater Delta Programme, Deltares collaborates intensively with the national government, regional water managers, other research institutes and engineering firms. Deltares is responsible for the problem analysis 2.0 that will provide the quantitative background needed as a basis for policy decisions relating to freshwater allocation. In addition, Deltares is working on extending and deepening our knowledge about freshwater supplies in areas such as drought statistics, salinisation, the impact of climatological and socio-economic changes, and methods for the economic appraisal of measures. In addition, Deltares is working on the further development of the National Water Model that can be used to provide new baseline projections every two years.

An important ambition, which was not a feature of phase 1 of the Delta Programme, is to establish a national strategy on the basis of a risk approach in line with the approach we already use in the Netherlands for flood risk management.