Warning: 820,000 homes planned in risky area

That amounts to 85 percent of all homes that should be built by 2030 to solve the enormous housing shortage.

Delta Commissioner’s advice

This is apparent from the Building Blocks Report, which was commissioned by Delta Commissioner Peter Glas. He in turn forwarded it to the Ministries of the Interior and Infrastructure and Water Management.

The Delta Commissioner advises on what policy should be pursued to prevent flooding, prepare the Netherlands for climate change and ensure that there is sufficient drinking water. His most recent advice revolves around building homes.

Too soft, wet or crushed

The consequences of climate change are hardly taken into account when determining where to build, according to Glas’s advice. The more than 800,000 homes are drawn on land that is too weak, wet, would be crushed by buildings or could flood.

The latter threat threatens the largest group of planned homes, about 580,000. These are planned in an area where there is an increased risk of flooding by 2050. This concerns about 60 percent of the total land area of ​​the Netherlands, including densely populated provinces such as North and South Holland and Utrecht.

This concerns land that is still protected against water by dikes. Whether these will still be high enough in 2050 is highly questionable because of the consequences of climate change.

This leads to more rain and a rise in sea level, Glas outlines on the basis of the most recent reports from the KNMI and the IPCC, the UN climate organization. The Delta Commissioner himself is calculating with a scenario of a 2 meter rise in sea level in 2100.

More rain and higher sea levels in turn lead to higher levels of rivers, which cannot dispose of their excess water in the sea alone. That increases the risk of flooding.

Reserve space for water

We should therefore not do one thing: build in places that we will desperately need in the future to collect all the excess water and to widen dikes. Glas argues in favor of banning building in so-called areas outside the dykes.

Another solution to this problem is to build houses that can be moved quickly or that move with the water, such as floating or amphibious houses.

Search outside the Randstad

Continue to look for locations other than the Randstad to live and work, advises the Delta Commissioner. If we now bet all cards on keeping this popular region safe, it will at some point be too expensive to work on alternatives, the so-called lock-in scenario.

There must be a movement towards places least vulnerable to climate change. Unfortunately, that is not so simple yet, because building on the higher sandy soils in our country also has drawbacks. Climate change could also cause major problems due to drought in 2050, Glas warns.

Drought is also a risk

This too can lead to damage to foundations or quays, poorer water quality and faster subsidence. 400,000 homes are now planned in drought-prone areas.

According to Glas, doing nothing is not an option, if only because of the investments of a total of 245 billion euros involved in the construction plans in vulnerable areas. Spending money now to build all these homes to take a beating is a decision you won’t regret, his advice says.

Costs lower than the damage

Because many of the plans are in densely built-up areas, the investments outweigh the potential damage as a result of climate change.

That can be quite expensive, as it turned out this summer. The extreme rainfall caused approx 1.8 billion euros in damage in Limburg and North Brabant.

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