the practical Guide

The practical guide:

Translated versions:  BG, CZ, DE, EL, EN, ESFR, HR, HU, IT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK

A bit of history on elaboration of the guide can be found here.

The NWRM identity cards (included in a dossier in the printed version of the practical guide)

Translated versions: DE, EN, ESFR, IT, PL


This guide, entitled A guide to support the selection, design and implementation of Natural Water Retention Measures in Europe: capturing the multiple benefits of nature-based solutions, has been developed as part of the NWRM project. It places the emphasis on the multiple-benefits NWRM can deliver and on the required policy coordination and coherence that is required to make best use of NWRM.

  • It aims to support the selection, design and implementation of NWRM in Europe.
  • It targets managers, decision makers, experts and stakeholders involved in the selection, design and implementation of NWRM as part of plans and programmes addressing water, floods, biodiversity, climate change adaptation, forestry, agriculture or urban issues. In addition, the guide can be of value to organisations financing projects in these policy domains.
  • It helps navigate through the internet-based NWRM knowledge base, proposing logical steps to access the different types of information and experiences that have been assembled there.

It complements:

  • The EU NWRM policy document that sets the overall policy umbrella and the relevance of implementing NWRM for achieving water and related policy objectives.
  • Existing guidance on planning processes that consider NWRM as practical options for achieving individual policy objectives (e.g. guidance on river basin management planning, urban planning, the development of sustainable forest management plans, etc.).
  • Existing guidance on the practical design and implementation of NWRM like measures proposed for individual sectors (see a non-exhaustive list of guidance documents cited in the NWRM practical guide).

The guide focuses on what needs to be accounted for in any given (catchment/ rural/urban) planning process to ensure that NWRM are duly considered.

It does not:

  • Repeat the basics of water, soil, land and spatial planning and development, or other existing sectoral planning. These are well addressed in existing guidance documents developed at the EU and country levels for different sectors and (water) management issues. This guide focuses on addressing specificities and differences that might arise from considering NWRM in terms of: setting objectives, identifying management issues, assessing potential impacts/effectiveness or ‘getting organised’ for effective and successful implementation.
  • Set compulsory steps you have to add to existing planning processes. It is a source of inspiration that can help you give NWRM their due role adapted to your own context and territory, even if the final answer of your assessments is: ‘I cannot implement NWRM’. In many cases, your own experience will bring additional thoughts and will complement the elements presented in this guide.
  • Propose standards for the design of NWRM. Still, some relevant information that will help with the design of NWRM under site-specific conditions is provided in the NWRM identity cards presented in the NWRM toolbox integrated in the guide.
  • Duplicate the technical content of the synthesis documents addressing assessment and policy issues developed under the EU NWRM Pilot Project. You will find these documents here.



Logos of all partners of NWRM project