Climate Adaptation in the Dutch Delta

The Dutch Delta is vulnerable to the possible consequences of climate change, such as sea level rise and higher river discharges. Strengthening the dykes to become ‘unbreachable’ (Delta dykes) may effectively reduce the flooding risks and sensitivity to climate change.


Freeing up more fresh water is possible by making adjustments to the New Waterway, where 80% of the Rhine is discharged into the sea, also in extremely dry situations. In this way, fresh water shortages due to climate change may be prevented.

PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency draws these conclusions in its report ‘Climate Adaptation in the Dutch Delta – Strategic options for a climate-proof development of the Netherlands’. The English publication is an extended summary of the Dutch report that was published on 21 September 2011. PBL has investigated adaptation options for the Netherlands to expected changes in climate and to weather extremes. Which options would be most effective to reduce flood risks? How could freshwater supplies be secured and the climate-resilience of nature and urban areas be improved?