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Calculating the impact of climate change and water management on terrestrial vegetation in nature areas

WaterVision Nature

WaterVision Nature (WWN) is a freely available tool to calculate the impact of climate change and water management on terrestrial vegetation in nature areas.

Below, you’ll find the links for the installation and user manuals. If you’re enthusiastic about the application of WWN, please register at the Helpdesk to receive WWN updates and other news about the tool. The WWN uses the Soil Physics Units Map (BOFEK) to derive meta relations. Recently the new BOFEK2020 has been published (see: BOFEK 2020 – Stowa Waterwijzer), which has not yet been used for WWN1.0 and WWN2.0. Future versions of the WWN will use BOFEK2020.

What can WaterVision Nature do?

The vegetation in natural areas makes specific demands on water management, particularly concerning groundwater levels. Existing assessment systems, however, do not take the consequences of climate change into account. That is why a system has now been developed to accomplish this: WaterVision Nature (WWN). This tool can be used to:

  1. test water management against existing vegetation objectives;
  2. assess whether vegetation objectives are achievable under other climate conditions;
  3. identify new sites suitable for nature development;
  4. optimise water management for the benefit of nature.

The tool calculates very quickly and generates results in the shape of clear maps and tables. Figure 1, for instance, shows the results of a search for potential sites for nature development.

Fig. 1. Gesimuleerde potentiële natuurwaarden in het stroomgebied van de Baakse beek (270 km2, Gld) onder het huidige klimaat (links) en de natuurwaardeverandering in 2050 onder klimaatverandering (rechts).

Figure 1. Simulated potential nature values in the Baakse Beek river basin (270 km2 in Gelderland) under current climate (left) and nature-value changes in 2050 under climate change (right).

Why a new system?

Changes in climate and water management impact vegetation objectives, but existing knowledge of water and vegetation is dated and therefore not useful for climate projections. In collaboration with STOWA, KWR has developed the WaterVision Nature tool, which incorporates the maximum number possible of the processes affected by climate change (Figure 2).

Fig. 1. Effecten van klimaatverandering op de vegetatie.

Figure 2. Effects of climate change on vegetation.


The first model version was released in September 2018. For further development, STOWA has formed a consortium including the national government, provinces, Water Authorities, water utilities and the implementing research institutes KWR and WENR.



WaterVision Agriculture

Besides WaterVision Nature, the above parties have also developed WaterVision Agriculture (WWL). This tool determines the effects of changes in hydrological conditions on agricultural production. Click here for more information about WWL.