Natural bank stabilisationIn the past, various activities were undertaken to straighten rivers, such as the stabilisation of river banks with concrete or other types of retention walls.ᅠ Such actions limited riversメ natural movements, leading to degradation of the river, increased water flow, increased erosion and decreased biodiversity.ᅠ Natural bank stabilisation reverses such activities, allowing rivers to move more freely.ᅠ Where bank stabilisation is nevertheless necessary, such as in residential areas, natural materials such as roots or gravel can be used.ᅠ Natural materials are preferable as they allow water to infiltrate into the bank.ᅠ They also provide better living conditions for aquatic fauna. - Based on Stella definitions, adapted by NWRM project experts and validated by the European Commission
Natural Water Retention MeasureNatural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) are multi-functional measures that aim to protect and manage water resources and address water-related challenges by restoring or maintaining ecosystems as well as natural features and characteristics of water bodies using natural means and processes. Their main focus is to enhance, as well as preserve, the water retention capacity of aquifers, soil, and ecosystems with a view to improving their status. NWRM have the potential to provide multiple benefits (see benefits table), including the reduction of risk of floods and droughts, water quality improvement, groundwater recharge and habitat improvement. The application of NWRM supports green infrastructure, improves or preserves the quantitative status of surface water and groundwater bodies and can positively affect the chemical and ecological status of water bodies by restoring or enhancing natural functioning of ecosystems and the services they provide (see ecosystem services). The preserved or restored ecosystems can contribute both to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Nature Based SolutionNature-based solutions aim to help societies address a variety of environmental, social and economic challenges in sustainable ways. They are actions which are inspired by, supported by or copied from nature. Some involve using and enhancing existing natural solutions to challenges, while others are exploring more novel solutions, for example mimicking how non-human organisms and communities cope with environmental extremes. Nature-based solutions use the features and complex system processes of nature, such as its ability to store carbon and regulate water flow, in order to achieve desired outcomes, such as reduced disaster risk, improved human well-being and socially inclusive green growth. Maintaining and enhancing natural capital, therefore, is of crucial importance, as it forms the basis for implementing solutions. These nature-based solutions ideally are energy and resource-efficient, and resilient to change, but to be successful they must be adapted to local conditions.
NitrateNitrate, NO-3, is the main nitrogen containing anion occurring in the soil. It is very soluble and moves freely in water through the soil profile. Nitrate in water is a pollutant above certain concentrations and can be a danger to human health. The main source of nitrate in water is agriculture although sewage discharges can also be an important factor.
Nitrate leachingThe 1980 EC Drinking Water Directive set a maximum of 50 mg/l of nitrate in drinking water (equivalent to 11.3 mg/l nitrate-nitrogen). An increasing number of water sources currently exceed this limit. Agriculture is the main source of nitrate in drinking water where nitrate, having a high solubility, washes out of the soil and gradually, often over many years, reaches underground water sources. Losses of nitrate by leaching depend on soil type and rainfall. The lightest arable soils only retain about 80 mm of water per metre depth; so nitrate in these, and the shallow soils which are so extensive in the UK are much more easily leached than nitrate in deep clay or silt soils which may retain more than 200 mm of water per metre. The amount of rain which is in excess of evaporation and crop transpiration and which therefore causes leaching, varies from about 150 mm per annum in the East to more than 300 mm per annum in some western and northern arable regions. In some grassland regions more than 1000 mm per annum is not unusual.
No tillageTillage is a mechanical modification of the soil.ᅠ Intensive tillage can disturb the soil structure, thus increasing erosion, decreasing water retention capacity, reducing soil organic matter through the compaction and transformation of pores. No-till farming (also called zero tillage or direct drilling) is a way of growing crops or pasture from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage. No-till is an agricultural technique which increases the amount of water that infiltrates into the soil and increases organic matter retention and cycling of nutrients in the soil. In many agricultural regions it can eliminate soil erosion. The most powerful benefit of no-tillage is improvement in soil biological fertility, making soils more resilient. - Based on Stella definitions, adapted by NWRM project experts and validated by the European Commission