Hotspot South-West Netherlands Delta

In the future, the South-West Netherlands Delta hotspot will be faced with rising sea levels, changing wind patterns and changing river discharges (lower in the summer and higher in the winter). This will result in changes in water quality, salinisation, reduced water availability, and different ecological and estuarine dynamics. The physical changes will have repercussions on spatial and economic opportunities and should therefore be considered in the long-term policy objectives as specified in the Delta Programme of the provinces of Zeeland, North Brabant and South Holland. The Delta Programme’s most important ambitions are restoring estuarine dynamics, ensuring water security and strengthening the economic structure of the region.

All initiatives concerning the restoration of estuarine dynamics have one thing in common: they aim to make optimal use of the natural hydrodynamic processes. Climate change will have a significant influence on the hydrodynamic system properties. For example, conventional sluice gate systems which aim to restore the saltwater/freshwater gradient and tide dynamics may no longer be sufficient to achieve the proposed objectives for agriculture and nature. Rising sea levels also mean a change in the flood risk.

The objectives for the South-West Netherlands Delta hotspot were, firstly, an active incorporation of the long term effects of climate change in the planning and investments specified in the Delta programme; and secondly, the formulation of adaptation strategies for water management and spatial planning in the South-West Netherlands Delta, which can be efficiently and rapidly implemented.

The themes addressed for this Hotspot were:

    • Incorporation of climate proofing in planning and implementation in the South-West Netherlands Delta, through efficient cooperation and communication
    • Estimation of climate change effects on estuarine dynamic restoration strategies
    • Development of new comprehensive methods for coastal defence
    • Assessment of climate change effects on spatial design, water availability and water quality
    • Development of climate change as a business opportunity (saline agriculture, aquaculture, recreation and fishing)

Midterm Assessment 2012 (webpage)
N.R. Landsman et al. (Province of Zeeland) (2012). Hotspot South-West Netherlands Delta, Midterm Assessment 2012, KfC 69/2012.

Projects and Publications
List with all South-West Netherlands Delta publications

HSZD01: Negotiating uncertainties: defining climate proofing and assessing associated uncertainties in the Southwest Delta Region of the Netherlands
Prospected changes in the global climate require that the policy makers in the Southwest Delta Region of the Netherlands reconsider their water management strategies and land use zoning plans in order to minimise flood risks and optimise freshwater availability. Such a governance process implies decisions about the ways to deal with uncertainties. Especially options to optimise freshwater availability can be an issue of negotiation between scientists and regional stakeholders in the process of formulating a land use zoning plan... read more

HSZD02: Climate change effects on restoration of estuarine dynamics within the Delta region
In the coming century, the effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, river peak discharges and the increase of the sea water temperature, will influence the functioning of the marine ecosystem of the South-Western Delta of the Netherlands. Added to this are various infrastructural initiatives within the Delta to protect this region against ongoing sea level rise and changes in river discharges. The goal of these adaptations is also to increase natural and production values of the delta. Two projects contributed to the knowledge in this field... read more