Natural Water Retention Measures

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.

The two overall objectives of the pilot projec

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

- 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.

During the project a platform gathering information on NWRM at EU level was created. From this page you can browse NWRM related concepts and access:

-  practical guide that will help you find your way to implement NWRM;
synthesis documents in order to provide information on key questions linked to the implementation of NWRM;
catalogue of measures, is  representing how many different measures can act as NWRM, by encouraging the retention of water within a catchment and, through that, enhancing the natural functioning of the catchment;
case studies.

Please see  also the project's leaflet to find out more.

 Why are Natural Water Retention Measures on today's policy agenda?

 With the Green infrastructure EU policy, there is an increasing interest in measures that aim to enhance the functioning of natural processes and ecosystems so that water can better infiltrate and be stored. These so-called Natural Water Retention Measures can represent cost-effective options for achieving the objectives of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and/or the Floods Directive. They can be part of Sustainable Urban Development plans to reduce investments in expensive water infrastructure. They can also help to enhance the resilience of (eco-)systems vis-à-vis climate change. Furthermore, NWRM can provide additional benefits in terms of ecosystem services delivery. In Europe, the implementation of NWRM is in its infancy. NWRM-related information is widely scattered and difficult to access. Readily available-information on practical cases, that can be a “source of inspiration” for practitioners from elsewhere, catchments or local areas, is rare



Project financed by

European Commission, Environment Directorate-General

Project partners

Coordinated by:
Office International de l’Eau (OIEau – France) with ACTeon (France)

 IACO (Cyprus/Greece)
REC (Hungary/Central & Eastern Europe)
 REKK inc. (Hungary)
BEF (Baltic States)
SLU (Sweden)
ENVECO (Sweden)

Project number


More information

 Kristīna Veidemane
Environmental expert
Tel. 00 371 6735 7552