Global-Change-Induced Disturbances of Water-Related Phenomena - The European Perspective

Falkenmark, M. (1989). Global-Change-Induced Disturbances of Water-Related Phenomena - The European Perspective. IIASA Collaborative Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: CP-89-001

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Impact of global change on human society will first be felt through disturbances of water-related phenomena. Traditionally, land use discussions only seldom reflect water phenomena. Present methods may therefore be poor tools in addressing the impact of global change. This report takes an alternative approach to land use by addressing a number of water-related phenomena from the perspective of their relation to land use and land-use-related societal activities. Such activities include both those dependent upon water supply or water-related land attributes, and those generating impacts on local water balance or on freshwater in aquifers and rivers.

A series of matrices are presented to clarify propagation of change, based on the continuity and interdependence of water cycle related phenomena. Global change impacts in Europe are tentatively described in a 70 year scenario composed of two phases: first water quality changes, later hydrological shifts with major consequences both for water availability and other water-related impacts on societal activities.

Sustainable development is described as a question of a sustainable interaction between human society and the water cycle including all the ecosystems fed by that cycle. Man is seen as a factor in landscape hydrology, due to the intervention introduced as a part of land use activities. Water management and protection is basically seen as a question of balancing dependencies on water against threats to that water.

The report ends with a discussion of water-related decisions, both those concerning projects involving visible water, and those where water is involved in a more or less hidden way. The section includes the main conclusions from a policy workshop on the societal impacts of a changing hydroclimate where the Po river basin was used as the case to which policy makers were invited to react.

The paper closes with an open question: is the traditional "dry: approach taken to land use really effective? How will that approach allow attention to land-use-generated impacts on water phenomena? Will the present way of seeing water as a conditional factor only in relation to plant growth be helpful enough, when addressing impacts of global change in regions where water scarcity and soil water deficiency will expand and influence land use?

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Collaborative Paper)
Research Programs: Transboundary Air Pollution (TAP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:00
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:13

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