Modelling Impacts of Nature-Based Solutions on Surface Water Quality: A Rapid Review

Fábio André Matos*, Peter Roebeling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Global climate change and growing urbanization pose a threat to both natural and urban ecosystems. In these, one of the most impacted elements is water, which is responsible for a large variety of ecosystem services and benefits to society. Mathematical models can be used to simulate the implementation of Nature-Based Solutions (NBSs), thus helping to quantify these issues in a practical and efficient manner. This paper presents a rapid review of literature in which the effects of NBS on water quality were assessed with the help of modelling methods. It was found that only 14 papers deal with the topic in regard to NBSs. Most of these papers were published in European countries, using Nitrogen and/or Phosphorus as the studied water quality indicators and focusing predominantly on wetlands. The literature suggests that NBS can positively impact surface water quality, even under future climate conditions, while being a justified investment from an economic standpoint. It is suggested that more information is required in order to expand the evidence base on the effectiveness of NBS for water quality improvement as well as to develop better and more standardized methods to model NBS impacts on water quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7381
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2022


  • hydrological model
  • Nature-Based Solutions
  • nutrient
  • sediment
  • water quality


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