Integration of Natural Water Retention Measures in River Basin Management

Integration of Natural Water Retention Measures in River Basin Management

Source of funding

European Commission

Name of client/donor

International Office for Water, France

Consortium members

OIEau (France), ACTeon (France), IMDEA (Spain), IACO (Cyprus/Greece), REC (Hungary/Central and Eastern Europe), REKK Inc. (Hungary), BEF (Baltic States), SLU (Sweden), ENVECO (Sweden), SRUC (UK), AMEC (UK)

Overall project value

EUR 139,825


September 2013 – March 2015

Beneficiary countries

EU member states | Norway | Switzerland

Number of staff


Natural water retention measures (NWRM) are the object of special focus in the European Commission communication “Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources”. They are examples of green infrastructure and are intended to restore and maintain water-related ecosystems by natural means.

The project “Protection and Efficient Use of Fresh Water: Integration of Natural Water Retention Measures in River Basin Management” was funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment.

The EU NWRM initiative aimed to develop sound and comprehensive European (web-based) knowledge on NWRM and to contribute to the development of a European NWRM “community of practice” by bringing together all parties interested in the design and implementation of NWRM.

Overall, the goal was to provide reliable scientific bases and a plausible methodology for the protection and efficient use of freshwater derived from atmospheric precipitation, as well as to support related knowledge transfer and exchange at different policy development and implementation levels. As part of the project, a detailed assessment of the effectiveness, costs and benefits of NWRM was carried out to support further scenario modelling. The project developed and maintained a catalogue of measures and case studies, to be integrated into the Water Information System for Europe (WISE), and organised targeted information and communication events in a representative selection of river basins with operators and stakeholders to foster knowledge exchange on NWRM. The project contributed to the WFD Common Implementation Strategy and to river basin management planning.

In order to facilitate the sharing of experiences and lessons learnt, four regional networks were established:

For further information please visit the project website, or join the NWRM discussion forum on LinkedIn

Project activities included gathering information on assessment methods and practices and collecting data for assessing the impact and cost effectiveness of measures in order to provide input for a catalogue of measures and cases studies; creating networks and organising workshops for the exchange of best practices; and preparing a practical guide for planning and implementing measures at catchment level.

Activities implemented by the REC as leader of the Danube network included the following events:


Second Danube Region Workshop in Bucharest, Romania, June 23-24, 2014

The second Danube Region workshop focusing on NWRM took place in Bucharest, Romania, on June 23 and 24, 2014.

For further information and/or to download the workshop documents, see the event report.


First Danube Region Workshop in Szentendre, Hungary, January 28-29, 2014

The regional workshop brought together practitioners and interested parties from the Danube basin to identify, share and discuss issues related to NWRM and to exchange experiences.

For further information and/or to download the workshop documents, see the event report.


Projects outcomes include:

  • Networking
  • Events organisation
  • Capacity building
  • Information collection dissemination
  • Best practice exchange
  • Preparation of guidance materials