Sustainability of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) interventions for water treatment in agricultural contexts

Title Nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation and water pollution in agricultural regions

Location San Rocco di Piegara (Verona), Venice Lagoon, Agropontine Plain (Latina)

Duration 2019 – 2021

Partner Iridra S.r.l.

Framework Invitation to tender no. JRC/IPR/2019/OP/0394

Funding Joint Research Centre, European Commission



The study considered three pilot cases of phytodepuration interventions on Italian territory:

  1. San Rocco di Piegara (VR): Management and treatment of manure from intensive pig farming. If not properly treated, high quantities of manure can have social, environmental and economic impacts at local level, in particular regarding air emissions and water bodies pollution.
  2. Venice Lagoon: an area of high environmental value but characterised by intensive agriculture and by an articulated network of drainage canals that flow into the main waterways. The “Plan for the prevention of diffuse pollution and water reclamation in the drainage basins of the Venice Lagoon” finances measures aimed at phyto-purification to reduce and mitigate the impact of nitrates on the one hand and flooding on the other.
  3. Agropontino Plain (Latina): area characterised by intense industrial and residential development with strong environmental pressures from livestock and intensive cultivation. The eutrophication of surface waters, due to excessive nutrient loading from diffuse sources, is one of the major barriers to achieving the quality objectives set by the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).


General Objective

The study aims to:

  1. Identify and understand the existing relationships among stakeholders and local actors and how they behave towards NBS works that have been implemented in their territories;
  2. Assess the sustainability of NBS interventions from by identifying and analysing the different impacts produced by the pilot projects at local and community level;
  3. Assess the functionality of each NBS solution as a model of economic and social development and in terms of replicability in other contexts.


Our contribution

The activities that ARCO carried out within the framework of the study and in relation to the three pilot cases included:

  1. Data collection through the conduction of semi-structured interviews and focus groups;
  2. Development of a matrix for the identification of “social value” in terms of ecosystem services;
  3. Identification and selection of indicators and socio-economic and environmental impacts;
  4. Elaboration of a SWOT analysis.

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