How can deltas and their societies transform into sustainable, resilient systems?

Over 500 million people live in deltas worldwide. Deltas provide essential services to humans, such as fertile land for food production, biodiversity, drinking and irrigation water and a river network for transportation. Unfortunately, human pressures and climate change have severe impacts on the functioning of deltas. Sea-level rise, land subsidence, ecosystem degradation, increasing flood risk, pollution, loss of biodiversity, conflicting land claims and declining livability are all pressures that form a threat.

The Water, Climate and Future Deltas community is a platform for scientists and external stakeholders to jointly work on ensuring resilient, sustainable deltas all over the world.

Within this community, scientific experts from a broad range of disciplines cooperate directly with experts in the field to combine knowledge on natural system functioning with spatial planning, land and water governance and legislative frameworks. This allows for developing resilient delta management strategies, which is urgently needed to sustain the quality of life in these unique ecosystems.

The Groene Hart is struggling with dehydration, subsidence and loss of nature and biodiversity. Researchers from Water Climate and Future Deltas are working together with societal partners on possible future scenarios with space for nature, agricultural landscape, living and working.

In this 10-minute introduction video, the research focus of our community and some examples of our interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary works on deltas are highlighted. We invite all interested researchers and external stakeholders to join us in the quest to develop pathways to sustainable deltas.

Research Approach

The community addresses these challenges with an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together areas of expertise in three research lines:

Future Deltas Infographic


Deltas are complex systems. To sustain and manage them, we require knowledge on the natural system functioning, land and water governance, spatial planning and legislative frameworks. Explore some of the interdisciplinary research topics of the Water, Climate and Future Deltas community in the storylines below.