Demystifying Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM)

September 2014

Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) can be defined as measures that aim to safeguard natural storage capacities by restoring or enhancing natural features and characteristics of wetlands, rivers and floodplains, and by increasing soil and landscape water retention and groundwater recharge. They can be implemented singly, or in combination, in a broad range of land-uses including agricultural and urban lands. There is some debate as to what measures can be classed as NWRM since the concept overlaps with a broader terminology used to describe green infrastructures. A narrower focus is on measures that either change land use practices, or those that directly restore or adapt water bodies. This definition is approximately in accordance with the one adopted (although not officially) by the European Commission that defines NWRM as “measures aimed to safeguard and enhance the water storage potential of landscape, soils and aquifers, by restoring and maintaining ecosystems, natural features and characteristics of water courses and by using natural processes”.

This ROCK report aims to clarify the competing definitions of NWRM and to scope where these measures fit in the context of the Water Framework Directive, other related policies and regulations, and climate change policy. It will outline what the key measures are and will provide some understanding of their evaluation for assessing the technical and economic potential NWRM in the UK and elsewhere in the EU.

Copies of the report are available from the Foundation for £15.00, less 20% for FWR members.

View the Full Report