Nature management, freshwater provision and climate change


KWR’s conducts research into the impact, among others, of climate change, nutrients, water management and site management on biodiversity and groundwater recharge, and also studies the effects of restoration measures. We thus contribute to achieving nature objectives, to a sustainable freshwater provision for drinking water, agriculture and nature, and to improving the urban environment.

Sustainable water management for nature conservation

Our experts research the possibilities open to sustainable water management to bring about the conservation, restoration and development of nature (biodiversity). To this end, we carry out ecohydrological system analyses, for example, within the programme of the Dutch OBN Knowledge Network for Nature Restoration and Management. Using lysimeters, we measure the evapotranspiration from natural vegetations to better quantify the groundwater recharge. We also develop dynamic models that allow us to explain and predict the biodiversity in natural areas, as a function of climate change, nitrogen deposition, water management and site management. We make use of new technologies, such as the application of drinking water sludge in natural areas as a means of reducing phosphorus availability, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) – drones – to monitor vegetation development.

Sophisticated water management for sustainable freshwater provision

When it comes to water supply, we carry out field and model research, which allows us to both quantify and manage freshwater supply via innovative technological solutions. This contributes to a robust water provision for agriculture, industry, drinking water and nature. By implementing smart measures in the field, such as subirrigation, reuse of (industrial) effluent, controlled drainage and water-balance management through targeted vegetation management, water shortages can be redressed in dry periods.

Climate change asks for blue-green solutions

To mitigate the impact of climate change, we work on smart combinations of water technology and ecology for the urban environment. For example, we combine nature with water storage, so that imminent water shortages or heat stress can be prevented and the city’s biodiversity strengthened. Take for instance solutions like optimal evaporation and cooling of ‘blue-green’ roofs with a closed water loop, as currently under study at Smartroof 2.0 in Amsterdam.