The case for mainstreaming nature-based solutions into integrated catchment management in Ireland

The intensification of European policies, agreements and regulations for climate action, water resources, energy, agriculture and forestry, and biodiversity is pressurising governments to adopt a wider portfolio of actionable solutions that are more financially and socially sustainable as well as scalable.Traditional engineering solutions, such as grey infrastructure, are the standard approach to the management of waterways, particularly when it comes to water purification and flood prevention or abatement. However, grey infrastructure depreciates over time, necessitating costly and technology dependant interventions on a continual basis. Green infrastructure, on the other hand, often appreciates over time and can provide multiple co-benefits in the longer term; this is the nature-based solution approach.This paper outlines the potential of nature-based solutions and integrated catchment management. It describes how current integrated catchment policy and programmes would benefit from this new approach and posits that nature-based solutions are a complimentary technology that would have multiple co-benefits in the Irish landscape.