|Main challenges and transnational approach|
|Written by Hermann Klug|
|Tuesday, 14 October 2008|
It is expected that in future, even the water-rich Alps, in particular the southern Alps, will be affected by severe droughts due to climate change. Increasing anthropogenic water abstraction will exacerbate the water scarcity problem. Seasonal decrease in precipitation or re-distribution of precipitation and groundwater recharge pattern is already the case in the southern, western and eastern Alps and Central alpine valleys. In the Austrian Alps, long time series analyses over 200 years indicate increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation as well as significant decrease of groundwater recharge in the order of 25% in the last 100 years. These have direct effects on drinking water supply, aquatic biology and water quality. Anthropogenic change and pressure on alpine water resources is strong at the local and seasonal scale, mainly due to water use for energy and cooling water, irrigation for agriculture, water use for tourism and artificial snow with water conflicts emerging.
Social problems associated with water scarcity will increase in the future. Therefore there is a need for problem awareness and acceptance and concrete actions to be undertaken with relation to water problems. Environmental and institutional problems related to water scarcity have to be investigated, in particular different water laws and solution strategies. One of the project challenges is the concept of multifunctional water use and water reuse. Another challenge is the suggestion of adaptation and mitigation strategies, such as land use changes in agriculture and artificial groundwater recharge.
Alp-Water-Scarce is of particularly high relevance within a transnational program since the Alps play an important role as water towers with surface and subsurface interconnections across transnational catchments. The project will be approached via three main geographical regions over the Alps: 1) high alpine regions, 2) inner alpine dry valleys and 3) pre-alpine basins represented by approximately 30 pilot regions in the 5 countries. The project aims to identify pilot regions across the whole Alpine Arc with actual or emerging water scarcity problems as a consequence of climate and anthropogenic change. The main objective is to develop transnational strategies and concepts of monitoring, sustainable water management and mitigation measures. Since climate, hydrological and anthropogenic change affects the whole Alpine Arc, the problems and solutions can only be analysed and compared at this scale.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 25 April 2009 )|