Assessment of future water availability under climate change, considering scenarios for population growth and ageing infrastructure
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Climate change is likely to cause higher temperatures and alterations in precipitation patterns, with potential impacts on water resources. One important issue in this respect is inflow to drinking water reservoirs. Moreover, deteriorating infrastructures cause leakage in water distribution systems and urbanization augments water demand in cities. In this paper, a framework for assessing the combined impacts of multiple trends on water availability is proposed. The approach is focused on treating uncertainty in local climate projections in order to be of practical use to water suppliers and decision makers. An index for water availability (WAI) is introduced to quantify impacts of climate change, population growth, and ageing infrastructure, as well as the effects of implementing counteractive measures, and has been applied to the city of Bergen, Norway. Results of the study emphasize the importance of considering a range of climate scenarios due to the wide spread in global projections. For the specific case of Bergen, substantial alterations in the hydrological cycle were projected, leading to stronger seasonal variations and a more unpredictable water availability. By sensitivity analysis of the WAI, it was demonstrated how two adaptive measures, increased storage capacity and leakage reduction, can help counteract the impacts of climate change.