Increasing water retention through afforestation, landscaping and reducing the stream gradient in Xiropotamos River Basin, Greece

National Id
Site name
Xiropotamos River Basin
Δυτική Μακεδονία (Dytiki Makedonia)
RBD code
Data provider
Maggie Kossida, IACO
Climate zone
warm temperate dry
Mean rainfall
Mean rainfall unit
Average temperature
Mean runoff
Mean runoff unit
600 - 750 mm
Case Study Info
Light or indepth?
Performance impact estimation method
Performance impact estimation information
Non applicable
Application scale
River Basin
Performance timescale
1 - 4 years
Area (ha)
Area subject to Land use change or Management/Practice change (ha)
Design capacity description
The retention measures are based on eliminating soil erosion and decreasing the stream gradient, though small scale dams. The maximum volume of runoff water that can be retained is not determined in the study.
The constrains include the implementation of such measures in protected areas and the limitations that are for this reason necessary
Favourable preconditions
The necessary preconditions are the climate conditions and the hydrology of the area.
Design contractual arrangement
Arrangement type Responsibility Role Comments Name
Design consultation activity
Activity stage Key issues Name Comments
Design land use change
Land use change type
Design authority
Authority type Role Responsibility Name Comments
Regional / sub-national water authority
Determination of design details of the measure
The Decentralised Administration of Epirus and Western Macedonia, Directorates General of Land Planning and Environmental Policy, Directorate of Environment, Land Planning of Western Macedonia, Department of Environment and Land Planning
Key lessons
The retention measures are based on the principles of eliminating soil erosion though afforestion and other planting measures. Also the decrease of the stream gradient, though small scale dams has decreased stream flow velocity and sendiment retention. Thus, the risk of flash floods is minimised in the downstream area and the biodiversity of the area is increased. Water retention management can be implemented through improvement of the soil and changes in the stream flow.
Success factor(s)
Success factor type Success factor role Comments
Attitude of decision makers
main factor

The decision makers approved the relevant environmental impact assessment

Financing type Comments
National funds
Barrier type Barrier role Comments
Lacking coordination between authorities
main barrier
The regional with the local authorities for the permissions etc
Driver type Driver role Comments
main driver
The improved mountainous hydrology of the area.
Financing share
Financing share type Share Comments
Policy description
The specific interventions aim at slowing down the stream velocity with retaintion dams and reduction of stream gradient. Additionally the application aimed at reducing soil erosion through afforestation and planting in order to improve the soil properties and mitigate flood risk.
Part of wider plan
Policy target
Target purpose
Runoff control
Peak-flow reduction
Erosion Control
Improved Biodiversity
Policy pressure
Pressure directive Relevant pressure
Policy area
Policy area type Policy area focus Name Comments
Policy impact
Impact directive Relevant impact
Policy wider plan
Wider plan type Wider plan focus Name Comments
Policy requirement directive
Requirement directive Specification
Direct benefits information
The direct benefits include the reduction of the flood risk, the mitigation of soil erosion, the improvement of the micro-environment as well as the aesthetic restoration of the area.
Ancillary benefits information
Ancillary benefits include the increase of infiltration / percolation and recharge of aquifers; this water can be used for different purposes (e.g agriculture) as well as for ecosystem services. Also the aesthetic improvement of the area has positive societal impacts
Costs investment information
The measures have not been implemented yet in the area
Costs operation maintenance
The measures have not been implemented yet in the area
Costs total information
The measures have not been implemented yet in the area
Ecosystem improved biodiversity
Information on Ecosystem improved biodiversity
The measures are expected to have positive impact on the biodiversity of the area
Information on Ecosystem provisioning services
Not relevant for this application
Ecosystem impact climate regulation
No information available
Information on Ecosystem impact climate regulation
The micro-climate and micro-environment is expected to be positively affected by the implemented measures; however the degree of impact is not assessed
Information on retained water
The volume of retained water was increased due to the small scale dams as well as the improvement in the area vegitation after the afforestation/plantation
Information on increased water storage
The measures slowed down the stream flow and increased the retaining of water for longer period enabling the infiltration/percolation and recharge of aquifers.
Information on runoff reduction
The measures improved the runoff control as the velocity of water volume was reduced leading to decreasing the intensity and frequency of floods.
Information on Water quality overall improvements
Not relevant for this application
Soil quality overall soil improvements
Positive impact-SQ improvement
Information on Soil quality overall soil improvements
The measures have a direct impact on the overall soil quality as afforestation / plantation of the area succeeds in improving the soil properties leading to increased soil storage capacity. Soil erosion have reduced the soil capacity to store and retain water thus an improvement in the soil properties (e.g. soil moisture) can have a positive impact on the soil infiltration capacity.


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