Economic rationale of NBS in freshwater ecosystems
The report shows that when all benefits for water quality, nutrient retention and flood risk reduction are taken into account, large-scale floodplain and river restorations are more economically attractive than traditional solutions. When rivers overflow dams and flood whole settlements, floodplains could prevent life-threatening situations. However, over the past centuries, Europe has seen its natural floodplains drastically reduced, leaving major rivers little room when water levels rise. Usually, in response to massive floods, governments invest in technical solutions, such as building higher dams, to further regulate rivers. They disregard the most sustainable and cost-effective solution: making space for rivers. The report also demonstrates that large-scale floodplain restoration needs to be undertaken not only in the regions that have most recently been affected, but everywhere in Europe.