Climate change, sea level rise and subsidence are causing greater salinisation of the inland dyke lands along the Dutch coast as well as in other deltas in the world. Salinisation negatively affects agricultural crops and threatens food production. This led Dutch knowledge institutes and universities of applied sciences to join forces and establish the Institute for Agriculture in Salinising Deltas with the aim of learning to use the available freshwater sparingly and smartly, and to make our agricultural system salinisation-proof. Among the founding partners of the Institute are Deltares, Wageningen University & Research, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, and HZ University of Applied Sciences, all NWP members.
Due to climate change, sea level rise and subsidence, the salinisation of the inland dike lands along the Dutch coast, but also in other deltas, is gradually increasing. This is due to an increase in the concentration of salt in the water system. As a result, the available amount of freshwater decreases.
Salinisation also makes ground and surface water less suitable for many users. Salinisation leads to damage to agricultural crops and threatens food production. Three Dutch knowledge institutes and three universities of applied sciences are therefore joining forces in the Institute for Agriculture in Salinising Deltas. The aim is learning to use the available freshwater sparingly and smartly and to make our agricultural system salinisation-proof.
Thanks to its combination of applied water, soil and crop knowledge, the initiative is unique in the Netherlands and is internationally relevant. Deltas in the world face the same threats and consist predominantly of clay-rich soils. Clay is very sensitive to salinisation. Once degraded soil has a poor structure, is less fertile and that will lead to lower yields and ultimately a lower income of the farmer. The increasing salinisation of ground and surface water reduces the availability of water for agriculture and many other functions and requires timely, robust, and sustainable solutions.
The emphasis of the Institute is on limiting the impact of salinisation as much as possible on the basis of thorough system understanding and practical knowledge (water, soil and crops). In addition, possibilities for adapting crops to more salty conditions are considered. The application is accelerated by working together in a Living Lab to develop and evaluate effective measures in the cultivation systems and in local and regional water management.
By bringing together the knowledge from various coastal regions in NL, through the use of leading and internationally working knowledge partners, the Institute has crucial building blocks for the issue of increasing salinisation and availability of freshwater. The partners will work with governments and the business community on a National Knowledge Agenda on Salinisation. The knowledge cluster promotes coherence and collaboration in research and projects. As the initiator, the province of Fryslân has made the start possible.
The substantive work of the Institute is made possible by its founding partners who make manpower available for a flying start:
The Institute invites interested parties to partner it and actively participate in future projects, knowledge sharing and the development of the knowledge agenda. The Institute will be located at the WaterCampus in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.