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






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

    Water in our landscapes is valuable, let’s not waste it. The recurring dry spells and heat waves remind us of the challenges we face to safeguard and restore raw water resources in often degraded landscapes. This is crucially important in our journey towards climate adaptation, as extreme rainfall as well as drought events become more and more common. The PROWATER partnership contributed to these challenges, and help find space for water in our landscapes. Through Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA), a Nature-based approach to climate adaptation, the partnership delivers ecosystem services including the retention and infiltration of rainwater in our landscapes. Examples of such measures include the restoration of temporal wetlands, permanent wetlands, infiltration zones and river valleys. These measures can be integrated into our natural and agricultural landscapes. In time of flood risk, they help lower the high water peaks in brooks and rivers by storing water in the landscape. In time of drought and increased water demand, the water stored in the landscape can be released back to the environment. As a first step, it is crucially important to determine in what location these different types of Ecosystem-based Adaptation measures should be implemented, to reach the desired impact on water infiltration and retention. PROWATER facilitated this (spatial) vision building exercise for Ecosystem-based Adaptation. The partnership developed a participatory approach to spatial vision building for Ecosystem-based Adaptation at the catchment-level. This approach relies on the following steps: 1) Understanding the catchment 2) Identifying water resource risks & challenges 3) Identifying & engaging stakeholders 4) Ecosystem-based Adaptation targeting 5) Ecosystem Service quantification 6) Monitoring & adjustment where needed To support this process, project partner University of Antwerp developed a toolbox, including a spatial prioritisation tool (water system map) and an impact assessment tool. Overall, PROWATER strengthened the business case for EbA and watershed Ecosystem Services (including infiltration and retention of rainwater) through demonstration sites for EbA, instruments for spatial prioritization and impact assessment, and practice and policy recommendations on Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) development. This is an important step towards the operationalisation of PES schemes for EbA measures targeted at watershed Ecosystem Services.



    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


    Thema: Ecosystem resilienceClimate change
    Type: Strategy/action plan
    Target: Local, regional and national authorities


    Thema: Ecosystem resilienceClimate change
    Type: Method/service
    Target: Local, regional and national authorities


    Thema: Ecosystem resilienceClimate change
    Type: Strategy/action plan
    Target: Local, regional and national authorities