Mission C – Climate-resistant rural and urban areas

Agriculture, industry, drinking water supply, cities, infrastructure and nature in the Netherlands are facing major challenges related to climate change. In 2050, the Netherlands must be climate-proofed both nationally and urban and prepared for future water challenges.

The Netherlands will be climate-proof and water-robust by 2050.

Climate change is reflected, for example, in sea level rise, higher temperatures and more extreme weather, where periods of extreme drought and extreme rainfall can alternate. Climate change has major consequences for water (and soil stability) and is a key factor in agriculture, industry, drinking water supply, the city, infrastructure and nature in the Netherlands and worldwide. Climate change leads to increasing salinization in the coastal zone and desiccation, which can lead to a squeeze in the water demand of current and future users and to put pressure on the groundwater balance, causing groundwater levels to drop and subsidence to increase. Drought also leads to drying out of greenery and less evaporation, which increases the heat island effect in built-up areas. Extreme precipitation can lead to local flooding. Both water shortages and flooding can lead to major economic damage.

In the rural area we face the challenge of making regional water management, agriculture and nature more climate-proof. In some areas, the challenges are already so large and complex that agriculture requires consideration of other cultivation systems and business and earnings models where agriculture follows the area characteristics of the soil water system. Desiccation plays a role in many nature reserves, where irreversible damage can occur. There are also major problems in the urban area. Cities are very petrified. In a warming and erratic climate, this quickly leads to flooding, drought and heat stress, which can cause major damage to buildings, infrastructure, public space, health and the economy. The urban area also faces other major challenges, such as the 38 construction task, energy transition, restructuring and circularity. Integration of adaptation with these tasks is extremely complex.

For all regional and urban water systems (ground and surface water) and in the water chain, attention must be paid to closing the water cycle, whereby there is interaction
between the need for sufficient water of good quality on the one hand and emissions to the water system on the other
Globally, the quality of life of cities, water safety, freshwater supplies and food security are under pressure. The strong Dutch knowledge and innovation base with regard to agriculture, regional water management and urban planning, system-oriented thinking in function allocation, spatial planning, and the integrated approach to the built environment and connections with the hinterland therefore offer many opportunities for export. (https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/publicaties/2019/04/26/missies)

This mission has the following sub themes:
  • Preventing or absorbing water shortages, salinisation and flooding in rural areas
  • Climate-adaptive agricultural systems
  • Prevention of flooding, drought, heat stress and subsidence and consequences of flooding in the city

Cases related to mission C