Journal article
Future long-term changes in global water resources driven by socio-economic and climatic changes



Publication Details
Authors:
Märker, M.; Flörke, M.; Alcamo, J.
Publication year:
2007
Journal:
Hydrological Sciences Journal
Pages range:
247-275
Volume number:
52
Start page:
247
End page:
275
ISSN:
0262-6667

Abstract
A global water model is used to analyse the impacts of climate change and socio-economic driving forces (derived from the A2 and B2 scenarios of IPCC) on future global water stress. This work extends previous global water research by analysing not only the impact of climate change and population, but also the effects of income, electricity production, water-use efficiency and other driving forces, on water stress. Depending on the scenario and climate model, water stress increases (between current conditions and the 2050s) over 62.0?75.8\% of total river basin area and decreases over 19.7?29.0\% of this area. The remaining areas have small changes. The principal cause of decreasing water stress (where it occurs) is the greater availability of water due to increased annual precipitation related to climate change. The principal cause of increasing water stress is growing water withdrawals, and the most important factor for this increase is the growth of domestic water use stimulated by income growth. (Population growth was a much less important factor and irrigated area was assumed to remain constant.) To address the uncertainty of water stress estimates, three different indicators of water stress were computed and compared. The overlap area of their computation of ?severe stress? in the 2050s was large (approximately 23 ? 106 km2 or 56?73 \% of the total ?severe stress? area). This indicates a moderate level of agreement and robustness in estimates of future water stress. At the same time the indicators disagreed in many other areas, suggesting that work is still needed to elaborate general indicators and concepts of water stress. Abstract A global water model is used to analyse the impacts of climate change and socio-economic driving forces (derived from the A2 and B2 scenarios of IPCC) on future global water stress. This work extends previous global water research by analysing not only the impact of climate change and population, but also the effects of income, electricity production, water-use efficiency and other driving forces, on water stress. Depending on the scenario and climate model, water stress increases (between current conditions and the 2050s) over 62.0?75.8\% of total river basin area and decreases over 19.7?29.0\% of this area. The remaining areas have small changes. The principal cause of decreasing water stress (where it occurs) is the greater availability of water due to increased annual precipitation related to climate change. The principal cause of increasing water stress is growing water withdrawals, and the most important factor for this increase is the growth of domestic water use stimulated by income growth. (Population growth was a much less important factor and irrigated area was assumed to remain constant.) To address the uncertainty of water stress estimates, three different indicators of water stress were computed and compared. The overlap area of their computation of ?severe stress? in the 2050s was large (approximately 23 ? 106 km2 or 56?73 \% of the total ?severe stress? area). This indicates a moderate level of agreement and robustness in estimates of future water stress. At the same time the indicators disagreed in many other areas, suggesting that work is still needed to elaborate general indicators and concepts of water stress.


Keywords
climate change and water, global water resources, water availability, water scenarios, water stress

Last updated on 2019-25-07 at 12:40