Climate adaptation

The climate is changing. That much is clear. We also know that the changes and the consequences are potentially far-reaching. But there is considerable uncertainty about the extent and speed of developments. How is it possible, despite that uncertainty, to tailor our policy and investment decisions in the present to cope with climate change in the future? It is important to know what you can do now to prevent damage, dangerous situations and costs in the future. For example because fresh water will be scarce then. Or because less agricultural land will be available. It is almost impossible for government authorities and businesses to make that balanced appraisal on the basis of all the available information, even though this is a major responsibility.

copyright Guus Schoonewille

Deltares has the latest knowledge in the field of climate adaptation. We have numerical models that allow us to team up with other research partners and describe the impacts of climate change (in scenarios). On that basis, we can identify potential difficulties (in stress tests) and then describe the range of room for manoeuvre for policy decisions (in adaptation paths). We help to prioritise problems and solutions (in tipping point analyses): we point out what should be done first. During this process, we always take a close look at regional variations.

At present, we are deploying our expertise worldwide, for example in the Delta programmes in Colombia and Bangladesh, where we have identified adaptation paths and scenarios. But we are also active in Hong Kong, where we have mapped out climate resilience in relation to the drainage of urban water. In Mongolia, Deltares provided input for the National Water Plan with the aim of responding to water shortages there. In the European programmes BASE and RISES, we are working together with sixteen partners to survey international climate risks and adaptation paths. We completed a ‘blue-spot study’ for Rijkswaterstaat to identify the consequences of more precipitation and higher groundwater levels for Dutch roads.