EU project NATALIE works on innovative natural solutions to increase climate resilience

KWR is scientific coordinator and leads case studies

Recently, the large-scale EU-funded project NATALIE (under Horizon Europe) was launched. With a budget of €18 million and 43 partners from 13 European countries, the project will run from 2023 to 2028 to rapidly accelerate the deployment of innovative nature-based solutions (“ecosystem-based adaptation”) to enhance resilience to climate change in various European regions.

KWR as scientific coordinator 

The France-based Office International de l’Eau (OIEAU) coordinates NATALIE. KWR is the scientific coordinator and leads the work package related to the case studies. NATALIE focuses on regions in Greece, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain (Canary Islands and Balearic Islands), Belgium (Flanders), France, Iceland and Italy (Veneto region).  

Image 1. Map showing the locations of the Case Studies (Demonstration Sites and Followers) in NATALIE

Replenishing groundwater with treated municipal wastewater

One of the case studies in the NATALIE project is in Limburg (Belgium). KWR is directly involved in this case study, together with de Watergroep (case study owner), working together with Vrije Universiteit Brussel, AQUAFIN and AGT (Adviesbureau Inzake Grondwatertechnieken).

Image 2. Location of the Blue Horizon Limburg on the map

Blue Horizon Limburg-Flanders is investigating the feasibility of Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) for drinking water supply and groundwater recharge. By injecting treated municipal wastewater into an aquifer and later recovering it when water is needed, drought risks from climate change are reduced and resilience enhanced.

Wastewater is a reliable source

Using treated wastewater for drinking water supply is still exceptional, but it offers many advantages. For example, domestic wastewater has a constant composition and supply, which simplifies water treatment. In addition, wastewater is a more reliable source than surface water because the supply does not depend on weather conditions. Moreover, wastewater reuse is in line with circular thinking and circular economy: the water is not disposed of, but kept within the system, thus reducing the pressure on external sources.

Mina Yazmani, PhD (KWR): “It is essential to evaluate the impacts of water reuse practices in a regional context, investigating how these measures propagate within both anthropogenic and natural water systems, and their potential to reduce groundwater and surface water demand. Throughout this project, my focus will be on evaluating these impacts, taking a ‘water system thinking’ approach to explore the regional application of reuse”.

NATALIE part of EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change

The NATALIE-project is part of the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change. It focuses on empowering regions, cities, and local authorities across Europe and making them more resilient against the effects of climate change. The Mission helps by understanding climate threats, building resilience, and testing solutions.

The project scientific coordinator, Dr Lydia Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia says:  “It’s important for the strategy of KWR that we are part of this Mission and this project, because it can lead to transformative solutions for several European regions”.


Image 3. The NATALIE project partners