Background information

Climate change will affect the supply of fresh water to the population and to economic sectors in many deltas around the world. Also the Netherlands will have to adapt to a growing mismatch between water demand and supply. The central issue is: what are opportunities and adaptation strategies for fresh water supply and water quality in the Netherlands, given the changing physical boundary conditions in evaporation, precipitation, river discharges, sea level rise and salt water intrusion? The focus is on regional and local solutions within the low lying parts of the Netherlands. In addition to droughts, the main threat to fresh-water availability in this area is salinisation. This research focused on how these regions can become more self reliant. Read the summary (pdf), the scientific aspects (pdf) and the societal aspects (pdf) of this research.

Aim and main research questions
The aim of the proposed research was to develop robust, flexible and long-term solutions from a local to regional perspective which can contribute to successful strategies to bridge the growing mismatch between demand and supply of fresh water (quantity and salinity) in the changing Dutch Delta. Based on this aim we formulated the following main research questions:

The Work Packages
The research programme contains six strongly linked work packages, illustrated in the figure. The main research questions of each of these work packages are:

    • WP1: What range of conditions should be taken into account to assess the severeness of an inadequate fresh water supply (evaporation, precipitation, river discharges, sea level rise and related salt water intrusion, international economic changes)? (pdf)
    • WP2: How will fresh-water availability within the coupled groundwater-surface water system change due to climate change and how can the self-reliance of water users be increased? (pdf)
    • WP3: To what extent can tolerance levels of different land uses be stretched? What opportunities for the reduction of the fresh water demand are possible? (pdf)
    • WP4: What is the potential of water technology for providing solutions for regional self-sufficiency in the fresh water supply? (pdf)
    • WP5: What approach should be used to build robust and flexible adaptation strategies, given the uncertainties in the long-term prediction of future climate change effects, and of other relevant socio-economic developments? (pdf)
    • WP6: How can knowledge about specific adaptation measures, perspectives of different stakeholders, available approaches for tackling uncertainty, be integrated to build strategies for selected pilot areas? (pdf)

Theme 2 Work Packages

The consortium partners are:


Deltares website

Wageningen University logo Wageningen University 
KWR-Water cycle research

KWR logo

VU University of Amsterdam VU University Amsterdam website
University of Twente
Alterra Alterra Wageningen UR website
Delft University of Technology TU Delft website
Acacia Water

Logo Acacia Water

Utrecht University

TNO website

The research programme is tuned to generate knowledge which meets demands of the following KfC-hotspot areas: Rijnmond Region, South Western Delta and Haaglanden.

The hotspot areas play an active role in the execution of the research programme, in all work packages but in particular the integrating cases of WP-6.