styles of natural infrastructure

Natural Infrastructure for Water Solutions (NIWS)

Over the next 5 years, Natural Infrastructure for Water Solutions is scaling up natural infrastructure on Canada's Prairies—for cleaner water and more resilient communities.

Working alongside stakeholders and champions from many sectors, we are:

  • Making the business case for natural infrastructure, by demonstrating how impactful and cost-effective it can be
  • Encouraging local municipalities to adopt more natural infrastructure projects
  • Enabling access to funding for those who want to implement natural infrastructure
  • Making sure that natural infrastructure is supported and championed by all levels of government.
The State of Play Report for Natural Infrastructure on the Canadian Prairies
For our latest REPORT, we sat down with key experts across the region and reviewed the latest literature to determine how we take natural infrastructure from novel to normal on Canada's Prairies.


Why natural infrastructure?

Natural infrastructure is a way to plan and work with nature to meet our infrastructure needs.

Imagine more wetlands (both natural and designed)green roofs, and stormwater parks, working actively to meet the needs of prairie communities. Natural infrastructure can be a preserved ecosystem (e.g., wetland), a restored ecosystem (e.g., replanted riparian area), or even a nature-based engineered feature (e.g., green roof).

The common thread? Natural infrastructure is managed to provide specific infrastructure benefits, with the potential for many other social and environmental benefits. There is increasing evidence that natural infrastructure can deliver much-needed water outcomes cost efficiently while also providing areas for recreation, habitat to support wildlife, and improving the overall resilience of our communities.

Why Us?

Here at IISD, we have been championing the benefits of natural infrastructure for decades, from deploying floating treatment wetlands at the world's freshwater laboratory to soak up harmful excess nutrients to managing a wetland at Pelly's Lake, Manitoba to protect local areas from flooding.

Now, our Natural Infrastructure for Water Solutions initiative aims to take NI from novel to normal on the Canadian Prairies, by ensuring it is backed by evidence, adopted, financed and enabled by policy.

Want to join us?

To learn more and to get involved, email Josée Méthot at [email protected]