What is NSWRM and why should I care?



NSWRM are small and multi-functional measures for the retention/management of water. When used right, they can significantly improve our lives.


Natural/Small Water Retention Measures (NSWRMs) aim at safeguard and enhance the water storage potential of landscape, soils and aquifers, and foster ecosystem services for mitigating the impacts of floods and droughts, contributing simultaneously to the achievement of different Sustainable Development Goals and environmental targets, formulated in several European Union policies. They are in line with the EU-level Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) concept and will be documented with the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT, www.wocat.net) questionnaire on Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Technologies to be included in the WOCAT global SLM database (https://qcat.wocat.net) and the European NWRM Platform (nwrm.eu).

NSWRM in the OPTAIN project are in line with the NWRM concept, but can to some extent cover a slightly different scope than NWRM as defined and described on the nwrm.eu website. NWRM primary focus is on water retention using natural means with lower attention to nutrients while some NSWRM also enable the recovery and re-use of water and nutrients and include Small technical water retention measures (SWRM), like small hydro-technical systems (small reservoirs, damming on watercourses) and new methods for utilizing existing water system.

This can be translated in short:

With climate change and increasing number of extreme events, these measures can help mitigate negative effects and provide resilience in the catchments while providing other services for the stakeholders in these territories.

 Authors: Benoît Fribourg-Blanc and Dr. Tatenda Lemann