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Keywords:

  • Delta Committee;
  • Delta Programme;
  • economic efficiency;
  • floods;
  • optimal;
  • protection standards;
  • social cost-benefit analysis;
  • the Netherlands

Abstract

Within the context of the Dutch Delta Programme, economically efficient flood protection standards for the entire Netherlands were calculated using a recently developed methodology for cost-benefit analysis and up-to-date insights into flood risk assessment. This results in economically efficient flood protection standards for different parts of the Netherlands that significantly differ from current legal flood protection standards. The cost-benefit analysis shows that it is economically efficient to raise protection standards especially along the rivers Rhine and Meuse, while for many dike ring areas in the coastal region, existing legal flood protection standards seem relatively high. An additional Monte Carlo analysis shows that in light of many uncertainties, these are also robust conclusions. The cost-benefit analysis does not support a general increase of the legal flood protection standards for all flood-prone areas in the Netherlands by (at least) a factor 10, as was recommended by the (second) Delta Committee in 2008.