Flood risk managment


Flood risks in river deltas and coastal areas worldwide are increasing as a result of a combination of climate change (sea level rise, precipitation patterns), growing population, urbanization and land subsidence. Disaster risk reduction can be achieved by flood prevention, a combination of spatial planning, dikes, flood prediction and early warning systems.
Facing these challenges, the Netherlands, low-lying country in the delta of European rivers, developed a Delta Programme for flood protection in the 21st century, integrating long term scenarios, hydraulic, economic and geotechnical expertise, legislation, spatial planning and financial arrangements. A close cooperation of national government and local water authorities with research institutes, consultancy and contractors in construction and experiments proves to be a key factor to success in the implementation of flood protection programme in the Netherlands and worldwide.

R&I (R&D?) questions

  • How to apply new concepts for flood protection worldwide, including a multi-layer safety strategy, assessment methods, flood prediction models and tools?
  • How to introduce new sensor and monitoring techniques for dike strength?
  • How to optimize life cycle asset management for dikes and hydraulic structures?
  • How to integrate flood protection in spatial planning, including critical infrastructure?
  • How to develop smart, sustainable and robust dikes, in combination with nature and urban functions?
  • How can we make flood risk reduction fit in local culture and safety perception?

Current programmes

In the Netherlands, a national programme (HWBP) is running for dike reinforcement, in cooperation with private companies and research institutes. This includes large scale experiments and learning from practice. In addition, new design and testing instruments (WTI) are developed and introduced. R&D programmes are sponsored by national and European funding (SAFElevee, RISC-KIT).

New accents

Innovative dike design, models and calculation tools, including acceleration of implementation; Earthquake resistant dikes; Hydraulic structures and multi-functional dikes and levees; Emergency measures; Asset management; Integrated urban design, flood resistant infrastructure and nature based solutions.

Pilots / experimental sites

Dike innovation pilots on a national and regional scale, Flood Proof Holland, controlled dike breach experiments, monitoring and sensor technology(FloodControl/IJkdijk), vertical geotextile for piping prevention.



  • Early warning information services worldwide;
  • Implementation of new dike concepts and integrated solutions;
    Flood risk assessment methods internationally applied;
  • Information services for disaster management using big data and citizen observatories.


Energy (wind and tidal), ICT


Attention for governance in pilots and experiments: responsibilities, uncertainties and risks, investments and societal profit, for public and private parties.