Nature-based solutions - Sustainable water management

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Classical Constructed Wetlands

Classical constructed wetlands (CW) group a series of nature-based techniques which have shown reliable removal efficiencies in the last 30 years.

The nature-based solutions included in the group of the classical CWs are following reported and are divided function of the hydraulic feeding systems.




Horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands (HF)


hf  web




Vertical subsurface flow constructed wetlands (VF)


vf  web




Free water surface constructed wetlands (FWS)


fws  web



Hybrid constructed wetlands


ibrido web

More information

Hydraulic classification

Constructed wetlands (CWs) for wastewater treatment are commonly classified according to the developed hydraulic path, as follow:

FWS: free water surface systems;

SFS-h or HF: horizontal subsurface flow systems;

SFS-v or VF: vertical subsurface flow systems.

Conventional subsurface flow systems require less area in comparison to FWS and have found greater application for secondary treatment. On the other hands, the lower construction cost of FWS favored their application for tertiary treatment.

Hydraulic and vegetation classification

According to the work of Fonder and Headley 2010, the combination of different planted vegetation and hydraulic regimes leads to the definition of up to 20 different CW configurations, as following report.

 treatment wetlands  web

CW classification considering both hydraulic regime and planted vegetation (Fonder & Headley, 2010).



Fonder, N., & Headley, T. (2010). Systematic classification, nomenclature and reporting for constructed treatment wetlands. In Water and nutrient management in natural and constructed wetlands (pp. 191-219). Springer Netherlands.