PIRAGUA – Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for the Pyrenees’ Water Resources with an Impact on the Territory

11:15 Tuesday 28 May


Room S2


David Haro-Monteagudo (Spain) 1; Santiago Beguería (Spain) 1; José Miguel Sánchez (France) 2; Iñaki Antigüedad (Spain) 3; Marc Pons (Andorra) 4; Jean-Phillippe Vidal (France) 5; Yvan Caballero (France) 6; Javier Lambán (Spain) 7; María Del Carmen Llasat (Spain) 8; Pere Quintana (Spain) 9

1 - Estación Experimental de Aula Dei - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones cientificas (EEAD-CSIC); 2 - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS); 3 - Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU); 4 - Observatori de la Sostenibilitat d'Andorra; 5 - Institut National de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l'Environnement et l'Agriculture (IRSTEA); 6 - Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM); 7 - Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME); 8 - Universitat de Barcelona; 9 - Observatori de l'Ebre

Ranging from the Mediterranean Sea through to the Atlantic Ocean, the Pyrenees represents the main source of water resources of North-Eastern Spain, Andorra and the South of France. Apart from providing for increasing human water needs like irrigation, drinking water, hydroelectricity production, and tourism; the runoff and aquifer recharge occurring in the Pyrenees are key in maintaining the ecological equilibrium at both the headwaters and many kilometres downstream of this mountain range. Thus, under a changing climate context with an important uncertainty component, the identification of robust adaptation options for the Pyrenees and surrounding territories is key to ensure the sustainability of the water cycle in the region.

The objective of the PIRAGUA project is to address, through cross-border cooperation, the assessment of the hydrological cycle of the Pyrenees in the context of climate change, unifying and homogenizing existing information, prospecting future scenarios, developing indicators, and proposing adaptation strategies with impact on the territory. The ultimate goal is supporting investment aimed at adapting to climate change in relation to water resources. In addition, the project is aligned with the objectives of the Pyrenees Climate Change Observatory (OPCC), which aims at being the reference platform of knowledge on adaptation to climate change in mountain ecosystems.

Data from all water related stakeholders within the territories influenced by the Pyrenees was combined to develop an unprecedented regional database of surface and groundwater resources and uses. Climate change projections and socio economic scenarios were used to feed various simulation models to create an ensemble of future effects on surface and groundwater resources, as well as future impacts on the main economic activities in the Pyrenees territory. All these results will ultimately help identifying innovative, robust and sustainable adaptation options that benefit the whole of the Pyrenees territory above administrative boundaries, stimulating common solutions to common problems.

The work carried out in PIRAGUA demonstrates the need of cross-border cooperation in matters such as water resources monitoring and inventory in a region shared by eight different territorial administrations and seven water agencies. Similarly important is the use of future climate ensembles to generate ensembles of multi-model results to capture better the uncertainties inherent in the process of evaluating the impacts of climate change, allowing for more robust and better-informed adaptation investment decisions by stakeholders.