Adaptive Delta Management for flood risk and resilience in Dordrecht, The Netherlands (2015)

B. Gersonius, J. Rijke, R. Ashley, P. Bloemen, E. Kelder, C. Zevenbergen Adaptive Delta Management for flood risk and resilience in Dordrecht, The Netherlands, Natural Hazards, 2015, pp 1-16

Many countries across the world are experiencing strict austerity measures due to the economic crisis. As a consequence, public financing for stand-alone adaptation to flooding and drought will become scarcer in the (near) future, and this hampers the pursuit of resilience (i.e. the ability to remain functioning under a range of hazard magnitudes). In such times, key challenges for adaptation are further complicated by weaker investment dynamics and an increased tendency to ‘work in silos’. These are: to minimise regret with respect to maladaptation, which results from over- or under-investment in water hazard management; to exploit the opportunities for mainstreaming adaptation to flooding and drought into other investment agendas; and to deliver multiple benefits for society and the economy, such as increased biodiversity, liveability and competitiveness. These common challenges drive the best way in which to adapt to uncertain climate and socio-economic changes. In the Netherlands, the Delta Programme has developed and applied a structured and well-defined approach (called Adaptive Delta Management) for including and acting upon uncertainty around these future changes. This approach allows for greater transparency to decision-makers and stakeholders, because it adheres to four specific steps for strategy development. This paper presents the current understanding of Adaptive Delta Management and an illustration of the approach for the management of flood risk and resilience in Dordrecht. It examines the added value and limitations of Adaptive Delta Management concerning its application in the context of the Delta Programme, with a specific emphasis on the lessons learned from Dordrecht.

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