Keywords

adaptation, climate change, eu policy, scenario analysis, water scarcity

Start Date

1-7-2012 12:00 AM

Description

The aim of the ClimWatAdapt project was to support EU policy development regarding adaptation strategies. This paper presents some of the results related to water scarcity and highlights the importance of scenario applications in this context. Within this study, an impact assessment for the summer season (June, July, August) was conducted by using different indicators based on existing hydrological and water use scenarios. To cover a range of uncertainty, an economic-oriented (Economy First) and sustainability-targeted (Sustainability Eventually) scenario was selected together with an ensemble of climate input. Based on the water scarcity results, the potential of water savings were analyzed. Overall, Europe’s future vulnerability to water scarcity is more dependent on socio-economic developments than on climate change impacts. Southern and South-Eastern Europe is still likely to suffer from water scarcity during summer, primarily caused by agricultural water use as indicated by both scenarios. Even a substantial decrease in water withdrawals as simulated for the Sustainability Eventually scenario will not prevent water scarcity in some regions. In the Economy First scenario, additional water stress appears mainly due to the rise in thermal electricity production and a decrease in Q90 in western parts of Eastern Europe. In order to reduce water stress, adaptation measures and policies are required in Europe, in particular Southern and Western Europe. Most water saving obligations are related to irrigation and thermoelectric power production. However, in approximately half of the vulnerable river basins an integrated multisectoral approach is needed. Therefore, adaptation should not be discussed in isolation and the focus of any policy intervention should be on socio-economic drivers, such as land use and production patterns. Technical measures that mainly aim at maintaining the current state or are trying to reduce the impacts are not sufficient to save water and to reduce vulnerability to water scarcity in the future.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Modelling scenarios as a link between research and policy making

The aim of the ClimWatAdapt project was to support EU policy development regarding adaptation strategies. This paper presents some of the results related to water scarcity and highlights the importance of scenario applications in this context. Within this study, an impact assessment for the summer season (June, July, August) was conducted by using different indicators based on existing hydrological and water use scenarios. To cover a range of uncertainty, an economic-oriented (Economy First) and sustainability-targeted (Sustainability Eventually) scenario was selected together with an ensemble of climate input. Based on the water scarcity results, the potential of water savings were analyzed. Overall, Europe’s future vulnerability to water scarcity is more dependent on socio-economic developments than on climate change impacts. Southern and South-Eastern Europe is still likely to suffer from water scarcity during summer, primarily caused by agricultural water use as indicated by both scenarios. Even a substantial decrease in water withdrawals as simulated for the Sustainability Eventually scenario will not prevent water scarcity in some regions. In the Economy First scenario, additional water stress appears mainly due to the rise in thermal electricity production and a decrease in Q90 in western parts of Eastern Europe. In order to reduce water stress, adaptation measures and policies are required in Europe, in particular Southern and Western Europe. Most water saving obligations are related to irrigation and thermoelectric power production. However, in approximately half of the vulnerable river basins an integrated multisectoral approach is needed. Therefore, adaptation should not be discussed in isolation and the focus of any policy intervention should be on socio-economic drivers, such as land use and production patterns. Technical measures that mainly aim at maintaining the current state or are trying to reduce the impacts are not sufficient to save water and to reduce vulnerability to water scarcity in the future.