Climate change impacts on water quality in the Llobregat Basin, Spain

16:15 Tuesday 28 May


Room S9


Laura Ramos-Soler (Spain) 1; Javier Paredes-Arquiola (Spain) 1; Joaquín Andreu-á lvarez (Spain) 1; Antoni Munné-Torras (Spain) 2

1 - Instituto de Ingeniería del Agua y Medio Ambiente, Universitat Politècnica de València; 2 - Agència Catalana de l'Aigua

Human activities are often accompanied by the degradation of affected ecosystems. The Mediterranean basins are exposed to overexploitation and high pollution level, which produce a degradation of water systems and a loss of biodiversity.The arid and semi-arid basins are characterized by suffering severe drought event, which causes critical situation for natural systems management. To ensure a good water quality of rivers, we proposed to develop a specific model to simulate and evaluate environmental risk of the study case in different climate change scenarios.

The aim of this study is to analyze impacts on water quality of Llobregat basin of three possible Climate Change scenarios (2020, 2050 and 2080). The Llobregat basin is localized in the northwest of Iberian peninsula and it is managed by the Catalan Water Agency [ACA].The Rapid Environmental Status tool [R2EA] was used to include the most important elements that affect the natural regime of the river and the main sources of pollution. This model was developed by the water resources research group of the Universitat Politecnica de Valencià, and it is aimed at quantitatively and qualitatively evaluating the effect of large scale pollution.

The first step of the methodology was the development and calibration of the R2EA model with data from ACA. The second step was the download of climate change information from the European SWICCA project (Hundecha et al, 2016). The parameter used, offered by SWICCA demonstrator, was the monthly change rate at the level of contributions per sub-basin. Finally, the model was executed with the climate change water contributions series.

The results showed that droughts are the most critical periods for ecosystems. During these periods flows were significantly reduced, limiting the dilution capacity of rivers and increasing the concentration of pollutants. Therefore, despite the high variability in the results of climate models used to generate the climatic change series. Finally, the model developed in this study, could be used by ACA managers to propose measures in order to reduce impacts in water quality and to evaluate its effectivity.