Welcome to Spongescapes

Let's Talk About Sponge Functioning

What is SpongeScapes?

"Green where we can, grey where we must"

SpongeScapes accelerates solutions that improve the sponge functioning of soil, groundwater, and surface water ecosystems, with the aim to improve the resilience of European landscapes against extreme hydrometeorological events such as floods and droughts.

SpongeScapes is a European Union research project (Horizon Europe). It contributes to the objectives of the European Union mission “Adaptation to Climate Change”, one of the five EU research missions.

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The Project in Numbers


4 Year Project

from 2023 to 2027.

€3 million budget

funded by the EU and UKRI

10 European Partners

representing 8 countries.

14 Case Studies

Across 7 European countries.

SpongeScapes in video

SpongeScapes is funded by


Sponge measures

Sponge measures aim to absorb, store, and slowly release water through landscapes.

Sponge measures mitigate floods and droughts and strengthen ecosystems against climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

Their implementation requires robust scientific evidence, which is challenging due to limited historical data, the need for diverse expertise, particularly in ecology, hydrology and soil sciences and long-term cooperation between stakeholders.

This is precisely where SpongeScapes aims to help, by bringing new evidence and tools for upscaling the implementation of sponge measures in landscape wide sponge strategies.

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Sponge strategies

14 Case Studies and 2 SpongeLabs to assess sponge measures and co-design sponge strategies at landscape scale

SpongeScapes aim is to upscale individual 'sponge measures' into overarching 'sponge strategies' at the landscape scale. To do this, we combine detailed monitoring of individual measures with landscape-scale modelling approaches to determine the maximum sponge capacity of catchments under current and future change scenarios. Throughout the project, we will involve stakeholders in the co-design and implementation of sponge measures in different geographical landscapes, taking into account co-benefits and trade-offs.

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Map of the 14 SpongeScapes case studies across Europe © 2024 OiEau
Map of the 14 SpongeScapes case studies across Europe © 2024 OiEau

How we work together

10 partners from 8 European countries

SpongeScapes is a partnership between Deltares (NL), leader of the project, International Office for Water (FR), Leibniz University Hannover (DE), University of Padova (IT), University of Ljubljana (SI), Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia (SI), Warsaw University of Life Sciences (PL), World WideFund Greece (GR), Etifor (IT) and UK Centre For Ecology & Hydrology (UK). SpongeScapes is funded under European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, Grant Agreement No 101112738, and supported by UK Research and Innovation/HM Government.

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Latest News

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First SpongeLab Workshop in Aa and Maas

On May 16, 2024, SpongeScapes kicked off its first SpongeLab workshop in Loosbroek, The Netherlands, introducing the geodesign approach to local stakeholders in the Aa and Maas management area.  
NAC 2024 conference
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SpongeScapes at the NAC 2024 conference

Last Friday, 8 March, Ellis Penning and Christopher Wittmann (Deltares) presented SpongeScapes at the NAC2024 conference, during a session dedicated to climate resilient sandy soil research in the Netherlands.

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