When the clouds started gathering and turning dark grey around what was supposed to be a lovely mid-July day, little did we know the devastation the ensuing floods would cause for much of Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

Controlled flooding through a bypass canal along the Waal river, Nijmegen, Netherlands ©Zoran Vojinovic

Authors: Zoran Vojinovic and Inger de Boer, Editor Claire Warmenbol

On 11 July 2021, the weather conditions in Western parts of Europe triggered exceptionally high precipitation rates, which in turn led to widespread flooding turning many regions into disaster zones not seen in decades. Tragically many people lost their lives, many remain unaccounted for and those who survived the worst flooding risk becoming homeless and displaced.

On top of the human loss and suffering, the economic damage caused by the flooding has been estimated to be around 6 billion Euros ($5.08 …

Scaling-up is a core element of the RECONECT project. By demonstrating, monitoring and evaluating the benefits of NBS with regards to hydro-meteorological risk reduction, RECONECT is learning how to amplify the impact of the project by developing a tailored scaling strategy.

Credit: © Shutterstock / R.de Bruijn

Authors: Diana Dushkova and Christian Kuhlicke, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research — UFZ

How can social and technical innovations become more widely adopted and lead to a transformative impact beyond the immediate context in which they have been developed? What are the strategic steps needed and which specific measures and actions can be taken to support the use of Nature-based Solutions (NBS) at different scales in the context of hydro-meteorological risk reduction, but also climate change adaption, urban development, land planning or other societal challenges?

In order to answer these questions, RECONECT project partners adopt the approach that scaling impacts…

The river system of Dove and Gose Elbe (Hamburg, Germany) has to cope with floods and, more recently, with droughts. The distribution of the storage volume during flood events is now managed by the monitoring and control system, improved and finalised by RECONECT. Thanks to the project, hybrid solutions will also be implemented combining existing grey infrastructure and Nature-based Solutions

Brookwetterung (drainage system). Source: D. Ackermann, LSBG

Authors: Dr.-Ing. Natasa Manojlovic, Senior Researcher at Hamburg University of Technology, member of the scientific advisory team for the German Demonstrator; Christian Ebel, The Ministry for Environment, Agriculture and Energy (BUKEA) of the City of Hamburg; Dieter Ackermann, Agency for Roads, Bridges and Waterways (LSBG) of the City of Hamburg.

The river system of Dove and Gose Elbe is located in the south-eastern part of the City of Hamburg, Germany, formerly part of the inland delta of the Elbe river with marsh characteristics. It has been intensively developed and modified by man over decades to improve its flood protection from…

The RECONECT Bulgarian Collaborator is affected by pluvial, fluvial, and flash floods (generated by the emergency discharge of local dams), even simultaneously. Local communities fight against floods in every way they can, but their home-grown risk management lacks important elements to be fully operational. This is where RECONECT steps in.

Authors: Lyudmil Ikonomov [1], Valeri Penchev [2], Antoaneta Kirova [2], Daniela Stoycheva [1], Sylvia Stoilova [1], Shirin Shukrieva [2]

[1] Regional Administration of Varna (a NUTS2 administrative unit) — project partner of RECONECT in Bulgaria; [2] Black Sea — Danube Association of Research and Development — lead project partner of RECONECT for Bulgaria;

The Kamchia River Basin is located in the eastern part of Bulgaria, covering nearly 5% of the national territory. Although not too big, Kamchia is the longest river on the Balkan Peninsula which flows directly into the Black Sea.

Close to one of Denmark’s biggest cities, new monitoring is proving how Nature-based Solutions can help in the fight against hydro-meteorological risks, keeping residents safe from flooding and extreme weather by boosting the expanse and services of nature and biodiversity

Authors: Alix Aliaga (Biologist, eDNA specialist), Signe Iversen (Landscape Manager and Climate Adaption Coordinator in Aarhus Municipality), Marzenna Rasmussen (Project Manager on behalf of AMPHI)

The RECONECT demonstrator site in Denmark (an already existing NBS site, established before the start of RECONECT) is located in the North of Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, and consists of two connected areas:

  • an artificial lake (Egå Engsø), created on low lying parts of the Egå river valley on the former seabed from the last ice age. The lake is surrounded by approximately 50 hectares of wet meadows;
  • and ten interlinked sites in the residential…

RECONECT is a 5-year EU project demonstrating the effectiveness of Nature-based Solutions (NBS) in reducing climate-related water risks such as floods, droughts and landslides. With flooding projected to substantially increase in Europe, the project contributes much-needed research and fieldwork on NBS towards a more climate-resilient future for Europe. From 20 to 28 November, over 80 RECONECT project participants met virtually for the project’s 4th General Assembly.

Under an extreme climate scenario, the number of people affected by too little or too much water in Europe could rise to 295 million, nearly half of the EU population (EU Science Hub). In monetary terms, the statistics are also grim. According to data from the European Environment Agency, the EU experienced a collective loss of €13 billion a year since the turn of the century due to floods, landslides, droughts, heatwaves and other climate-related extremes. Implementing Nature-based Solutions to adapt to climate change can help improve current practices and provide multiple co-benefits besides climate risk reduction (EU Report).


Lead Users are able to identify market gaps and create their own solutions. A lot of valuable self-developed nature-based (or related) solutions have already been implemented at the local scale but are not broadly diffused yet. Following the Lead User Method, RECONECT will find workable but unexplored lead user innovations and make them available for other communities in need.

Authors: Dr. Vytaute Dlugoborskyte (Institute for Technology and Innovation Management, Hamburg University of Technology); Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Cornelius Herstatt (Head of the Department, Institute for Technology and Innovation Management, Hamburg University of Technology)

Who the Lead Users are

The common understanding of innovations and innovative activities presumes that producers develop innovative goods and services in order to sell them to customers, consequently following benefit-motivated goals. In contrast, users innovate when they cannot find suitable products or solutions in the market that satisfy their needs. Such user innovations are frequently developed by so-called Lead Users.

Lead users are individuals or organizations suffering from unsolved problems…

Eva Crego Liz from Agència Catalana de l’Aigua (ACA) illustrates the case of the Tordera Delta and the feasibility studies made to diminish the flood risk in this RECONECT demonstrator.

Delta de la Tordera — photo credits: Turisme Malgrat

Short description of your area (geographical context, morphological problems and goals of the NBS implementations)

The Tordera River Basin is one of the main watersheds in Catalonia, Spain, still unregulated. It has a typical Mediterranean rain regime (scarce and irregular) and flash floods usually occur. Vulnerable activities occupy flood-prone areas as the middle part of the basin is highly industrialized, while the Delta is a popular tourist spot with different campsites. Besides, the Delta is an important area for agricultural production. …

Carlos A. Madera (Universidad del Valle) and Daniel Ascuntar Rios (Local Environmental Urban Authority of Cali City, DAGMA) illustrate the hydro-meteorological hazards affecting the Cali area (RECONECT collaborator), the solutions implemented and the diffusion of the NBS approach in Colombia.

A view of Cali. Credits: DAGMA

Short description of the Cali area

Cali is a tropical city of almost 2.3 million inhabitants, economically based on services and tourism, with an important presence of small and medium industries.

Cali is sunny, warm and windy. It is a water treasure full of birds, crossed by 7 rivers, almost 2.000 water springs and more than 6.000 surface water currents that flow into the valley area…

Interview with Alberto Girani, Director of the Ente Parco di Portofino, and Guido Paliaga (PhD), CNR-IRPI temporary research fellow. Both are partners and demonstrators in the RECONECT project.

What are the drivers for using Nature-Based Solutions in the Portofino area?

The landscape surrounding Portofino, along the North-West coast of Italy is characterized by steep valleys and mountain slopes extending to the shoreline. These slopes are a biodiversity hotspot and also include cultural heritage sites, which together attract a vast number of tourists. The surrounding landscape has been intensively modified since the medieval period with many changes superimposed on each other. The latest expansion of tourism infrastructure further increased the level of urbanisation…


The RECONECT project demonstrates the effectiveness of Nature-Based Solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction in rural and natural areas www.reconect.eu

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