All-Risk: meeting new flood safety norms in the Netherlands

The All-Risk research programme at the same time investigates the challenges, and aims to contribute to the effective implementation, of the High Water Protection Programme (Hoogwater Beschermingsprogramma, or HWBP in Dutch) which aims to meet new flood safety norms in the Netherlands.

The HWBP and its preceding programmes are set up to deal with high water and flood risks in the Netherlands. The incorporation of new flood safety norms in the Dutch Water Law in January 2017 are an important driver for the current HWBP programme (and individual HWBP projects). A national review showed that several hundreds of kilometres of embankments do not meet the new safety standards. Modifications to embankments, but also spatial planning interventions and new governance arrangements, can be implemented in such a way that the new safety standards will be met cost effectively and timely (by 2030).

Several HWBP projects (click here for a full overview) are currently underway with the ambition to implement flood risk management measures. In most of these projects, processes of knowledge co-production are set up by the project offices. These processes are characterized by technical consulting companies producing the technical information required to make key decisions, but also consist of participatory involvement of various stakeholders. These stakeholders are invited to bring in new ideas and discuss preliminary plans. The Environmental Policy Group is involved in studying the knowledge co-production processes of flood risk management in HWBP projects, as part of the governance and legal working package (together with Utrecht University and Radboud University) of All-Risk.

The findings are on a regular basis presented and discussed with the broader stakeholder group, consisting of amongst several others the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Rijkswaterstaat and the Dutch Water Authorities.

All-Risk is funded by NWO-STW and hosts 14 PhD positions and 4 postdoc positions. Matthijs Kok (Delft Technical University) and the HWBP board are leading the programme. The full proposal can be found here.