The aim of this report is to provide an overview and summarise the science, experience and case studies relating to the use of freshwater wetlands for improving water quality. It is aimed at those new to using wetlands for tackling water quality wanting to understand the potential wetlands have and those that are looking to identify potential wetland opportunities or are at the feasibility or planning stages of implementing wetland interventions.
There is a large body of evidence from across the globe that demonstrates the effectiveness of wetlands in removing a range of different pollutants. They can also contribute to the creation and restoration of habitats across the landscape, a more resilient water supply, flood regulation, opportunities for recreation and education, as well as carbon sequestration. There are multiple situations, and locations, where wetlands can be used within a catchment to help reduce pollution. Planning projects at the catchment scale creates a useful understanding of the catchment’s relationship with pollution, potential constraints and the range of outcomes that are looking to be achieved across the catchment.
The final section of the report specifically focuses on integrated constructed wetlands (ICWs) and the site specific considerations that effect there design and implementation. There are a range of factors which influence treatment efficacy, as well as constraints, multiple benefits and trade offs that need to be considered. The development of ICWs requires significant technical knowledge of these factors and the complexities that could arise, alongside a clear understanding of the objectives.