Publications & tools


Investing in Nature for European Water Security

Water security is at the heart of healthy and prosperous societies. European countries’ prosperity depends on their ability to maintain water security in the face of new and rising challenges. Although the vast majority of Europe’s population has access to reliable water and sanitation services, Europe has many outstanding water challenges.

Ensuring water security requires that water be available in the right quantity, at the right quality, at the right time and in the right place. Unfortunately, ecosystems’ ability to purify and regulate water flows is greatly eroded by urbanisation, deforestation, relentless increases in artificial ground covering, excessive use of pesticides and fertilisers, and heavy modifications applied to water courses for hydropower production. As a result, the integrity of freshwater ecosystems is seriously threatened and their ability to meet societal and ecological needs is compromised.

This report explores how investing in nature at scale could significantly contribute to addressing Europe’s water security challenges.

The report’s main objectives are:

  • To identify the roles that nature-based solutions can play to tackle Europe’s water security challenges, as part of hybrid (green-grey) water investment strategies;
  • To extract learning from on-the-ground experiences with investments in nature for water security in Europe and identify enabling conditions and barriers to scale;
  • To formulate recommendations on what needs to be done differently to achieve scale and contribute to boost water security and resilience in the European Union.