Dutch plan for increased future flooding

Regional, national, authorities recommend creation of overspill areas as water levels rise

Dutch water management authorities have called on the government to allow for increased flooding of the low-lying country in response to rising river levels, subsidence and climate change. Over the next few decades, average water levels in Dutch rivers are expected to rise "by several decimetres".

In a memorandum to junior water minister Monique de Vries, a joint committee of regional and national water authorities called for the construction of "green rivers" where overflow could be stored. The advice that certain areas should be allowed to flood to reduce pressure elsewhere has already caused opposition from the inhabitants of areas identified as potentially suitable for storage.

The recommendation is a "break with the past" according to the authorities, because it would mark an end to the construction of ever higher dykes to prevent flooding. Water levels are expected to reach danger levels in many areas this year, and increasing dyke height further would risk catastrophic floods if they were still breached. The minister is expected to present a policy note to the cabinet and parliament in the summer.

Follow Up:
Dutch transport and water ministry,

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