Delta Alliance toolbox: a showroom of water knowledge

Alterra assisted the Delta Alliance with the development of a ‘Toolbox for Adaptive Delta Management’. The aim is to provide tailor-made solutions for delta problems in the Dutch delta and in many delta’s abroad.

The Toolbox provides guidance to delta managers in several ways. The underlying assumption is that a delta has to be managed as a complex system consisting of different parts that cannot be looked at in isolation, but have to be studied and managed in combination with the other parts. A plan has to be integrated, interdisciplinary and long term. The Toolbox consists of three parts: an overall guideline with the Adaptive Delta Management Approach; factsheets on existing tools; and knowledge gaps requiring new research coalitions.

Towards a Framework for Adaptive Delta Management

Within the framework of the Toolbox, Marcel Marchand (Deltares) and Fulco Ludwig (Alterra) wrote the paper ‘Towards a Framework for Adaptive Delta Management (June 2014)’; it is alo available at the website of the Delta Alliance. It describes how short and long term outlooks can be combined in an integrative approach to the complex system of a delta. It focuses on the physical environment as well as socio-economic development. The report provides guidance how to deal with uncertainties through adaptive management and scenario constructions. It also explains how to perform integrated assessments, and emphasises the need to involve stakeholders.


The second part of the Toolbox is an overview of specific tools that fit somewhere in the process of adaptive delta management. Existing tools and methods are described in factsheets in an attractive and understandable way. The factsheets include pictures and diagrams showing what a tool is, how it can be used and what the results will be like. The factsheets also provide contact information, because many tools still require scientific expertise to be used in practice. The tools are not static; they can be developed further in an interactive process.

The tools are useful in different stages of delta development. The different stages are ‘agenda setting’, ‘problem analyses’, ‘strategy development’, ‘implementation’, ‘monitoring and evaluation’. A phase model was developed to visualize the phases.


The result of this project is a web-based Toolbox, available on the Delta Alliance website.

Project team

The Toolbox is a joint effort of Judith Klostermann (Alterra, team leader), Fokke de Jong (Alterra, webmaster), Wim van Driel (Alterra), Fulco Ludwig (Alterra), Wim Douven (Unesco-IHE), Jaap Evers (UNESCO-IHE), Maaike Maarsse (Deltares), Cees van de Guchte (Deltares), Tom Bucx (Deltares), Marcel Marchand (Deltares), and Hans de Boer (TUD).

The Delta Alliance is an international knowledge-driven network organisation. Its mission is to improve the resilience of deltas through more integrated and effective efforts, building on scientific research and knowledge exchange. It aims at disclosure of knowledge for application by a wide audience of end-users from the knowledge institutions, public partners and private sector.