About the Sigma Plan

Providing improved protection for Flanders against the flooding of the river Scheldt and its tributaries. And, at the same time, boosting the valuable nature surrounding the river Scheldt. That is the goal of the Sigma Plan. The Sigma Plan touches on safety, nature, recreation and the economy.

The Sigma Plan protects Flanders from flooding. In extreme weather conditions, the river Scheldt and its tributaries can reach dangerously high water levels and can even overflow their banks. That is why the Sigma Plan invests in sturdier and higher levees and in a chain of natural flood control areas in the river valleys. Areas like these can catch excess river water in a controlled manner. This gives the rivers room to flow and to overflow.

The flood of 1976 was the impetus for creating the Sigma Plan. To prevent disasters like that, the Belgian federal government launched an ambitious plan – a plan with the S from Scheldt and one that was analogous to the Dutch Delta Plan. In 2005, the Sigma Plan was updated to include the latest scientific insights. Since then, the Sigma Plan has also made important contributions to the European conservation objectives for Flanders.

The executors of the Sigma Plan are De Vlaamse Waterweg nv and the Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos (Agency for Nature and Forests). In addition to water safety, the Plan also focuses on the development of river nature, recreational facilities and local economies. That is how the Sigma Plan makes Flanders safer, greener and an ever more splendid natural experience.

The Sigma Plan: a unique tandem of water safety and nature development