The new research project will address the question of how the changing climate and socioeconomic conditions influence water reservoirs and the services they provide to different economic sectors.
"It is very important to start looking at what climate change means for the reservoirs and the resources they provide to our society. Increased sediment can lead to losses in hydropower production or availability of water for drinking or irrigation," says Alena Bartosova, research leader at the hydrological research unit at SMHI.
– We will integrate our hydrologic and sediment models with energy models to evaluate water stress and potential conflicts among different sectors that rely on reservoirs, she continues.
Three case study areas
A detail investigation of processes driving the water and sediment inflows to the reservoirs will be conducted at three case study areas: Gepatsch Reservoir in Austria’s alpine region, Banja Reservoir in Albania, both used for hydropower generation, and Orust-Tjörn area in Sweden, where changes can potentially disrupt mussel farming in coastal zone.
The lessons learnt through these case studies will be utilized at a continental scale, working with a regional hydrological model (E-HYPE) and a global hydrological model (WW-HYPE) in Europe together with an energy model.
"Working at these three scales helps us to develop an understanding of how scale affects the projected impact of changing conditions, which is very important to managers and policy makers," says Alena Bartosova.
The three year project "Evaluating sediment Delivery Impacts on Reservoirs in changing climaTe and society across scales and sectors (DIRT-X)" is funded by JPI-CLIMATE AXIS with national co-funding, in Sweden from research council Formas. SMHI is leading the project with five other partners from four countries (NTNU, Utrecht University, University of Stuttgart, University of Innsbruck, and Leibniz University Hannover).