Multi-annual research on climate adaptive planning for elevated sandy soils

June 11, 2020

The Netherlands has seen yet another dry springtime, while lately the rain that does fall tends to pour down in peak showers. Elevated sandy soils in the Netherlands are not fit to deal with these kinds of climate change effects. In search of a way to improve current landscaping, 24 parties will look into possible climate-adaptive options for the water- and soil systems on the sandy soils, that may also benefit agriculture and nature.

Elevated sandy soils are highly dependent on rainwater. It is important, with climate change accelerating, that these areas will retain water during dry spells and can discharge superfluous waters in case of flooding. It has become clear, that the water systems of the sandy soils could not perform this in recent years. The newly started project KLIMAP is going to do research on the perspectives of a transition to climate-adaptive land use planning and management. So-called development tracks will be envisaged by the project partners. This in close collaboration with the owners of the terrains, their managers and users.

Testing grounds

The researchers will collect technical, economic and social data in test locations, to gain insight in the effectiveness of specific measures, revenue models and spatial processes. Scientists can, based on this, develop tools like working procedures, models, future scenarios and policy-supporting systems. This knowledge and the tools will contribute to defining certain development tracks. Indications can be derived on how a climate-resilient soil- and water system should be structured. Plus information on what is needed to realise this, in support of a sustainable economic and societal use of soil and water in a rain catchment area.


KLIMAP is not only looking into the desired end product, but also into the steps needed during a transition. To this end, information on the effectiveness and feasibility of the investigated measures is important. The question on how this will work out for the regional planning of sandy soils in the Netherlands is also a key issue.

“A measure will always be a combination of for example a business model, societal acceptance and advantages for water quality, - retention and -drainage" says Myrjam de Graaf, project leader on behalf of Wageningen Environmental Research. “The fact that we will be collaborating with such a high number of different parties is unique. We expect that each party, with the knowledge and tools we are going to develop in this project, will receive the right package to be able to implement locally further steps in this transition. While doing so, they can fulfil the necessities for a climate adaptive land use planning in their specific region.


The project is co-financed by the top-sectors Agri & Food and Water & Maritime. The following partners are involved in funding and implementing the collaborative project KLIMAP: Water Board Aa and Maas, Water Board Vallei and Veluwe, Water Board De Dommel, Water Board Brabantse Delta, Water Board Limburg, Water Board Vechtstromen, Water Board Rijn en IJssel, Province of Noord-Brabant, Province of Gelderland, Province of Limburg, STOWA, LLTB, KWR Water Research Institute, Deltares, Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen Lifestock Research, Wageningen University, Radboud University, Louis Bolk Institute, Van den Borne projects, KnowH2O, Kuipers Electronic Engineering, Barth Drainage.