Protecting and restoring raw water sources through actions at the landscape scale | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Protecting and restoring raw water sources through actions at the landscape scale

Priority Axis

Adaptation to Climate Change

Specific objective

Adaptation to Climate Change

Lead partner

Vlaamse Overheid, Departement Omgeving

Start Date


End Date


Project budget

5 526 620

ERDF amount

3 315 972

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    Build resilience against droughts (and water scarcity) by enhancing infiltration and water retention capacity of landscapes in regions of strategic importance for drinking water production. Climate projections for the 2 seas area, point towards dryer and warmer summers with more extreme and concentrated precipitation events (summer storms). This could result in a higher demand for water production (on hot, dry days, water consumption can triple). Increased water abstractions volumes during summer will have high impacts at an already critical moment for water dependent ecosystems. This will aggravate the conflict between water provisioning and biodiversity conservation. Restoring and developing blue-green structures in landscapes improves the hydrological resilience to droughts and floods, provides substantial climate mitigation benefits and benefits biodiversity.

    Main Achievements

    The PROWATER spatial prioritisation tool developed by Antwerp University (PP2) is actively taken up by policy, impacting the capacity to implement Ecosystem-based Adaptation beyond the PROWATER investment sites. The tool is used in numerous planning projects, including cross-border projects. The drafting of municipal water management plans in Flanders and almost all waste water managers have requested the maps for more than 100 Flemish municipalities.

    The importance of transboundary collaboration was illustrated by the cross-border workshop organised by Waterschap Brabantse Delta (PP5), University of Antwerp (PP2), Province of Antwerp (PP3) and the Flemish Government (LP1), focussing on sustainable water resources the lowland brooks in the Campine region. As in the other 2 Seas regions, these PROWATER workshops aim to develop a participatory long-term vision building approach for tackling drought and sustainable water resources in the regions.

    PROWATER is investing in monitoring to further quantify the impact of EbA measures, strengthening the modelling approach used in the PROWATER ECOPLAN tool. South East Water (PP7) and South East Rivers Trust (PP10) have installed soil moisture profile probes in Friston Forest and Lullington Heath. These probes will provide data to quantify the effect of habitat switching on groundwater levels in the aquifer beneath the trial area.

    Works in the investment sites (IS), demonstrating EbA measures, advanced well despite all odds in this crisis year. Restoration of the Scheppelijke Nete valley by Provincie Antwerpen (PP3) has been completed. The area has been cleared of obstacles and over a large area topsoil has been removed to reduce nutrients and restore water storage capacity. In IS Den Rooy Natuurpunt (PP9), the raised bog has been addressed by repairing the leak, allowing the raised bog to retain more water. The conifers around the bog are being replaced with heathland and mixed forest. Pidpa (PP4) has started excavation work in IS Oostmalle to remove topsoil and plant the first alders in 2021 as a step towards creating a larger wet alder forest. The partnership between the South East Rivers Trust (PP10), Kent County Council (PP6) and the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership have had several hectares of grassland in the Beult and Nailbourne catchments in Kent re-seeded by the two farmers involved with a species mix that will help to break up the deeper soil layer and improve drainage and infiltration.



    Universiteit Antwerpen – Onderzoeksgroep Ecosysteembeheer (UA)

    Provincie Antwerpen


    Westcountry Rivers Trust

    Kent County Council

    South East Water

    Waterschap Brabantse Delta


    South East Rivers Trust


    URL / Download

    Spatial prioritisation tool for EbA measures

    Theme: Climate change - Water management
    Type: Method/tool
    Target: Local, regional and national authorities - Water management organisations

    Communication strategy on water scarcity and ecosystem based adaptation

    Theme: Climate change - Water management
    Type: Strategy/action plan
    Target: Local, regional and national authorities