Summer Course – Nature Based Solutions in Water Management

IHE Delft

Target Audience

Summer courses at IHE Delft are for advanced students and professionals in the water and related sectors.


Nature Based Solutions (NBS) is an emerging concept. It covers a range of approaches and technologies, which use natural processes to address societal challenges. Of particular relevance are applications in the field of water management, such as in coastal/river flood protection, water resources management, stormwater management, water supply, wastewater treatment and pollution prevention.

Their success is related to good performance on primary objectives, co-benefits for other objectives and (in many cases) low operation and maintenance costs. Nature Based Solutions, when well designed, will result in multiple benefits for the environment, society and economy. They can also promote a green and circular economy because they close the loop of water management and make connections between healthy ecosystems and social/economic development challenges.

On the first day of the course, the concept of Nature Based Solutions is introduced, along with its basic design and operation principles. During the next three days (morning sessions) the application of these principles is demonstrated for the different fields of water management. In parallel (in the afternoon sessions), the participants will work in teams on a design of an application in a concrete context. In this “learning by design” exercise, the participants are challenged to apply the NBS principles using a real-life case study from her/his home country. On the last course day, the participants will present and discuss their design and underlying motivation and application of these principles.

Real life case studies of Nature Based Solutions will be presented to the participants during the course. Each participant is asked to select a concrete context (case study that is most relevant to his/her discipline, context (home country)) and to do some desk research for this case study. Based on the selection of the participants and their background, (multi-disciplinary) design teams will be composed. The design teams will apply the design and operation principles of Nature Based Solutions for the case study. This design should be presented in an elevator pitch by the team members to the expert panel and fellow participants. Along with the elevator pitch, an A4 sheet of design considerations (application of NBS principles) should be submitted by each participant for assessment.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
1. Define the basic design and operation principles of Nature Based Solutions
2. Explain how these principles work in in the fields of water engineering, water management, water supply and sanitation in practice for a number of case studies across the world
3. Apply these principles in a concrete context (e.g. related to his/her home country)