LAND4FLOOD: Natural Flood Retention on Private Land (CA16209)

Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of future flood events, leading to higher costs of flood damages and increasing the public demand for protective measures. Traditional flood protection measures, mainly based on grey infrastructure (i.e. dikes, dams, etc), are not sufficient to cope with dynamic flood risk alone. Nature-based solutions such as Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) are promising options to mitigate flood risks as a complement to grey infrastructure. These types of measures not only serve to reduce risk, they also provide additional ecosystem services including increased biodiversity and recreation opportunities. However, a common characteristic of green infrastructure measures is that they often claim more land than traditional methods.

The challenge is to consider multifunctional land uses, which enable temporary flood retention and flood storage on private land without restricting the provision of other ecosystem services. The reconciliation of flood risk management and land management is needed. Since all NWRM primarily need to be implemented on private land the consideration of multiple aspects includes: economic issues (e.g. how to compensate for or incentivize flood retention services); property rights issues (e.g. how to allow temporary flood storage on private land); issues of public participation (e.g. how to ensure the involvement of private landowners) as well as issues of public subsidies (e.g. how to integrate/mainstream flood retention in agricultural subsidies). LAND4FLOOD COST Action aims to address these different aspects and to establish a common knowledge base and channels of communication among scientists, regulators, land owners and other stakeholders in field.

Key Questions:

  • Which synergies can be identified between different land uses and the provision of flood storage and ecosystem services?
  • How can the knowledge base about advantages and potentials of NWRM, large scale flood retention and resilient cities be strengthened and their importance communicated to different actors at the local, regional and catchment levels?
  • How can land owners be encouraged to adapt land uses and land management strategies which allow for increased water retention capacity?
  • How can public and private stakeholders in urban and rural areas engage with each other to reduce flood damage through a comprehensive management plan based on the implementation of retention and resilience measures throughout the catchment?


To allow participants and stakeholders  to focus on particular topics of interest, LAND4FLOOD is organised in  three Working Groups (WG):

WG1 – Environmental conditions: The effects of land on catchment hydrology.

WG2 – Socio-political contexts: Property rights, opportunities and limitations for negotiating land for flood risk management

WG3 – Stakeholders and interests: Negotiating and mobilizing processes to secure land for flood risk management

For detailed information, read the LAND4FLOOD Memorandum of Understanding.

See also our Communication plan here!