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CS#1 - Flood and wildfire risk mitigation in Greece


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This case study consists of a Demonstrator Site. It does not have any Follower Site.  


DS#1 - "Lelantine Plain" (Greece)

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Lelantine plain, Evia island, Greece

The demonstration site, the Lilas river basin, is located in the Lelantine Plain, Evia Island, Greece. It concerns a rural/agricultural area (biogeographical type: Mediterranean) with an approximate area of 275km2.



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Description of area

Description of the area

The study area is located in Evia island, Greece and is centred on the Lilas river. The Lilas river originates from the Xirovouni and Dirfys mountains in the central part of the island, flows through central Evia, and creates an extended delta (Lelantine Plain) draining into the South Evoikos Gulf. The river has an intermittent flow, with no flowing water during the warmest months of the year.

In a nutshell:

  • Evia island (2nd largest island in Greece)
  • Island size: ~3700 km2
  • Lilas river length: 34 km
  • Tributaries length: > 170 km
  • Originates from the peaks of Dirfys and Xirovouni Mts in the NE
  • Extended delta (Lelantine plain) in the South Evoikos Gulf 

Climatic Challenges

The study area has suffered from several major floods and wildfires during the last decades. Due to excessive interventions in the Lilas riverbed and a high urbanization level (including coastal settlements at the estuary) in the river basin, the area has a high flood risk and several major flood events have occurred during the past 25 years. Moreover, Evia island has a fire prone Mediterranean vegetation and a dry and windy weather during the summer, and has suffered from several major fires during the last decades. Climate change increases the intensity and frequency of both flood and fire events.

Planned activities

Planned activities

To date, no nature-based solutions have been implemented in the study area to mitigate the climatic challenges described above. Implemented actions have been focused on grey measures to reduce both the flood and the fire risks (e.g. gabions, dikes and fire zones) rather than on preventive measures. Infrastructure repairs (damages to roads, bridges etc) have been conducted after major flood events.

To explore flood control measures in the study area, a minimum of 50 traditional check dams will be constructed in DS#1, in an ephemeral tributary of the Lilas river. Such check dams have been constructed for hundreds of years in the Mediterranean region, initially serving as a small-scale method to collect water for irrigation and other purposes. Here, we will explore the impact of such check dams in reducing the flood risk and in increasing water percolation, thus enriching the aquifer. Furthermore, these check dams will create small oases with the potential co-benefit of increasing biodiversity.

For fire control, NATALIE actions are prescribed burning to manage the forest fuel and the design of a fire risk management plan, which both have the potential to reduce the fire risk in the study area.

Lastly, an extended participatory approach with the local stakeholders will be undertaken to identify appropriate areas for the replication of NBS in the main Lilas water course.

The Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) to be studied are:

  • River Restoration
  • Riparian Forest Restoration
  • Floodplain Restoration and Management
  • Wetland Restoration and Management
  • Traditional Stone Weirs in Lilas' Tributaries (in mountainous areas)
  • Forest Management


Ambition during the project 

This project is a pilot study for the implementation of NBSs in the Lelantine plain, which has suffered from major flood and fire events during the last decades. Our scope is to understand how these small-scale implementations can reduce both flood and wildfire risks in the study area, and later to design a larger-scale holistic NBS plan at the catchment area-level.


Ambition after the project 

This pilot study will serve as an example for the upscaling of such NBS from the study area to the level of the catchment area. The work in WP6 on investing in ecosystem-based adaptations will have a significant role on upscaling, as it will map all the potential financial mechanisms and it will try to mature the financial conditions for implementation of similar actions in a wider scale in the area.


Involved partners

WWF   NTUA    Chalkis    UTH    GIB   PSTE

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