Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM)

Long title: 
Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM)
Name of client/Beneficiary: 
European Commission
Start Date : 
September, 2013
Completion Date : 
September, 2017
Funding organisation: 
Union Européenne
Name of Associated partners if any: 
ACTeon (France), IMDEA WATER (Spain), IACO (Cyprus/Greece), REC (Hungary/Central & Eastern Europe), REKK inc. (Hungary), BEF (Baltic States), SLU (Sweden), ENVECO (Sweden) SRUC (UK) and AMEC (UK)
Description of the project: 

Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) are measures that aim to safeguard and enhance the water storage potential of landscape, soils and aquifers, by restoring ecosystems, natural features and characteristics of water courses, and by using natural processes. They are green infrastructure solutions and they support adaptation, reducing vulnerability of water resources.

The NWRM initiative is a project of DGENV for collaboratively building knowledge and promoting best practice on Natural Water Retention Measures in Europe. You can find here the key concepts used and resources to help you develop your own measures. Progressively you will find a catalogue of case studies along with a practical guide to implement NWRMs.

Interaction with stakeholders is welcomed and we invite you to explore the site and also to join our LinkedIN group to discuss further with other experts.

There is increasing policy interest in the so-called Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) for improving the water status on hydromorphology and diffuse pollution. To respond to this interest, DG ENV launched a dedicated tender entitled Pilot Project - Atmospheric Precipitation - Protection and efficient use of Fresh Water: Integration of Natural Water Retention Measures in River basin management.

This NWRM initiative has dual aims:

•              To develop a structured knowledge base on NWRM that can easily be accessed by all within the Water Information System for Europe (WISE); and,

•              To contribute to the development of an active European “community of NWRM practitioners”, thanks to the launching of different regional networks and the development of a practical manual for supporting NWRM design & implementation.

Description of services provided by IOW: 

International Office of Water, coordinator of the project developed a platform with its partners (, which brings together the knowledge available on these measures. The catalog currently contains 53 measures grouped into four segments: Forest, Urban Zone, Agriculture and Hydromorphology.

Some case studies are presented and all data collected are grouped into a knowledge base accessible via the platform.

To facilitate access to information for water managers and policy makers, a practical guide was developed and translated into the 25 languages ​​of the European Union.

The project results were presented in 2014 to the different groups of the CIS (Common Implementation Strategy), but also to the General Assembly of EURO-INBO (International Network of Basin Organizations) and during the General States of Water in Mountain in  Megève.

Files for the website: