Tool risk reduction measures


Buffer zones of riparian vegetation and areas with hydrophilic treatment plants for protecting water bodies from pollution

The measures describe vegetation-covered systems which are in varying degrees saturated with water. They pre-treat rainwater and extend the retention time. They can serve as buffer zones around water bodies. Pollutants are removed as a result of intensive sedimentation and assimilation by aquatic vegetation and adsorption in biogeochemical barriers e.g. in the form of gabions filled with dolomite or limestone and covered with a coconut mats. They are particularly important in the case of inflow of heavily polluted waters after heavy rain events.

Fields of action
Additionally to flood risk reduction by slowing and storing surface runoff, the measure has medium or high possible benefits for the following biophysical impacts and ecosystem services: Intercept pollution pathways; Reduce erosion and/or sediment delivery; Filtration of pollutants; Increase evapotranspiration; Increase infiltration and/or groundwater recharge; Increase soil water retention; Improve soils; Absorb and/or retain CO2; Climate change adaptation and mitigation; Biodiversity preservation; Aesthetic/cultural value; Create terrestrial habitats

Check out the RAINMAN good practice examples:

no good practice example available


  • Office International de l’Eau (2015): Natural Water Retention Measures, URL: (19.03.2020): filter strips

Sabine Scharfe, Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology