These guidelines explore natural small water retention measures and are part of a bigger project on an integrated drought management programme in Central and Eastern Europe, conducted by the Global Water Partnership and WMO.
The guidelines conclude that water management should aim to increase the natural retention capacity of river basins, creating the conditions for storage (retention) of rainwater and snow in the catchment, and slowing down the water runoff into surface watercourses. Practitioners can use a number of technical as well as non-technical measures to obtain this goal. These activities are called “natural small water retention measures” or “small retention” – as opposed to hydraulic engineering activities involving the construction of large reservoirs, canals, and embankments, among others. Small retention involves proper planning of agricultural and forestry areas, including the restoration of wetlands and river valleys, implementation of suitable agricultural technology, creation of objects for water retention in rural and urban areas, and modernisation of existing drainage systems.