Evaluation of crisis control, summer 2018 water shortage

Published on 11 February 2019

Suggestions for dealing with future drought

The drought and threatened water shortage in the summer of 2018 led to the establishment of a national crisis organisation. Various parties in the water chain and the Dutch Lower House have requested an evaluation of the functioning of the crisis organisation. This is to obtain clarity regarding whether improvements and/or modifications are needed in the partnerships between involved parties and the National Water Distribution and Drought Scenario. The evaluation will be concluded prior to the 2019 dry season.

The Netherlands has a period of drought almost every summer. The supply of water via the Rhine and Maas reduces and more water evaporates than there is rainfall. When water shortages seemed likely in July 2018, the National Coordination Committee on Water Distribution informed stakeholders via weekly Drought Monitors. In early August 2018, the national crisis organisation scaled up in accordance with the National Water Distribution and Drought Scenario. The handling of drought demands coordination and partnerships with many different parties.

Interactive sessions

In the evaluation, document research, interviews and an online survey formed the basis of a fact file and a provisional analysis. This analysis was fed back in interactive evaluation meetings with Rijkswaterstaat (the Dutch Directorate General for Public Works and Water Management), water boards and involved sectors (including drinking water, agriculture, nature and shipping). As well as a national meeting, there were sessions for each Regional Drought Consultation. This provided insight into the learning and improvement points in the various regions and at national level.

Framework Agreement

Berenschot and Arcadis conducted the evaluation for the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW). For this evaluation, Berenschot brought experience with incident and other evaluations, Arcadis brought content knowledge and experience with policy regarding drought problems and water quantity. Both organisations are partners in a consortium that includes PosadMaxwan and Bax & Company. The consortium was selected as partner in the Ministry of IenW framework agreement for engineers and advice agencies for all IenW policy fields.


Peter van Zanten

Peter van Zanten

Senior managing consultant