Making a difference by improving water governance

Water is the basis for all life as we know it. While it exists in abundance on planet Earth it is under unprecedented pressure from climate change, pollution, and overuse. Floods and droughts are on the rise, and the growing scarcity of clean fresh water is also of grave concern. 

EU water policy and regulations such as the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive reflect the importance of water governance. As presented below, North Sea Region projects are driving solutions forward to reach the water policy goals of the European Union. 

Project highlights

Browse through the slideshow to discover key project achievements so far: 


Explore projects on water management


BEGIN: Working with citizens to integrate water bodies in cities

BEGIN involves local citizens in climate-smart city planning with blue-green infrastruture. This includes lakes, rivers, and swales that can soften floods and contain excess water during periods of extreme rainfall. 



BwN: Unleashing natural water systems 

BwN trials nature-based solutions to support climate resilience. Allowing natural water dynamics to take place is a key part of this endeavour and comes with multiple ecosystem benefits.

Visit Building with Nature


CANAPE: Purifying water the natural way

CANAPE restores degraded peatlands. One of the important ecosystem services of peatlands is to deliver pure fresh water. Healthy peatlands are natural water purifyers prized by water companies. 



CATCH: Helping midsize cities cope with weather and water extremes

CATCH developed a decision support tool for midsize cities to develop their climate strategy. The project showed that it is possible to  create new assets as part of tackling climate threats.



FAIR: Reinforcing flood defenses

Flood protection infrastruture is ageing while the risk of floods is growing. FAIR addressed this situation by discovering cost-effective ways to upgrade and maintain dykes, sluices, dams, and floodgates. 

Visit FAIR


FRAMES: Handling floods from risk to recovery

FRAMES uses multi-layered approach to tackling floods. The project helps communities to reduce the risk of damaging floods, and also to deal with disaster when it happens and recover quickly post flooding.  



IMMERSE: Managing upsteam pressures on estuaries 

One of the main threats to esturaries is the pollution and nutrient load of fresh water flowing into them. IMMERSE takes a 360 degree view of estuaries including upstream issues. 



NuReDrain: Filtering out agricultural nutrients

NuReDrain tackles a major threat to natural ecosystems: Nutrient overload from agricultural fertilisers. The project develops a filter to stop nutrients in run-off water from reaching streams, rivers, and meadows.

Visit NuReDrain


SalFar: Saving fresh water through saline farming

SalFar developed saline farming, including successful trials using brackish water for irrigation. The project used salt-tolerant varieties with no adverse effects on growth or taste. This demonstrated a way to save huge amounts of fresh water in farming.

Visit SalFar


Sullied Sediments: Tackling hazardous chemicals in waterways

The project explored hazardous chemicals piling up at the bottom of rivers and lakes where they pose a danger to the ecosystem. The project involved citizens in gauging the chemicals and discovered methods to render them harmless. 

Visit Sullied Sediments


TOPSOIL: Getting to grips with groundwater management  

TOPSOIL used advanced technology to map and predict the flow of groundwater deep underground, given the rising global temperature. This helps managers to foresee future problems such as salinisation or depletion and deal with them proactively. 



WaterCoG: Involving stakeholders in water management

The Water CoGovernance project engaged local citizens, farmers, and businesses in water management. The partners showed that it is possible to join up people and policy to protect the environment with the support of local stakeholders. 

Visit WaterCoG