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Impacts of Climate Change on Water Management. Stocktaking, scope for action and strategic fields of action

Description

In December 2020, the German Working Group on Water Issues of the Federal States and the Federal Government (LAWA) prepared a comprehensive report on the concerns, potential responses and strategic fields of action in water resources management, updating the previous work released in 2017.

The application-oriented report briefly describes how changes in climate elements (temperature, precipitation, wind, etc.) affect surface water, groundwater and the ecology of water bodies. It considers the above-ground run-off (run-off regime, low water, floods, flash floods), aquatic and marine ecology,  groundwater (groundwater recharge, groundwater quality and temperature) and coastal waters and estuaries (sea level, storm surges, swell and  morphological changes). Increasing heat periods, more frequent and stronger local heavy rain events or accelerated sea level rise are just some of the discussed impacts of climate change. The report moreover presents examples of best practice and fundamental decision-making aids for integrating climate adaptation measures in their day-to-day water management activities.

15 fields of water management are analyzed: 

  •  Inland flood protection and protection against high groundwater levels 
  •  Coastal protection 
  •  Urban drainage and wastewater treatment 
  •  Flood protection: heavy rainfall and flash floods 
  •  Drainage of low-lying coastal areas 
  •  Marine protection 
  •  Conservation of aquatic ecosystems 
  •  Groundwater protection and groundwater use 
  •  Public water supply 
  •  Cooling water availability 
  •  Hydropower generation  
  •  Navigability 
  •  Water abstraction for irrigation in agriculture 
  •  Dam and reservoir management 
  •  Low water management in watercourses

For each of these fields of action, 2-3 practical examples are presented. To address specifically political decision makers, strategic fields of action are described and conflicts of aims are named. In accordance with the cyclical  approach of the German Adaptation Strategy to Climate Change (DAS), the absolutely necessary continuation and enhancement of monitoring are emphasized (concern - understanding and describing climate change) and the structure for vulnerability analysis (hazard - identifying and assessing risks) is presented.

Hints for the development and planning of measures are given and the need for monitoring by means of suitable climate indicators and their evaluation is stressed.

Reference information

Contributor:
German Working Group on Water Issues of the Federal States and the Federal Government (LAWA)

Published in Climate-ADAPT Mar 17 2022   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Sep 10 2022

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