Evaluation of future climate change impacts on European groundwater resources

Kevin Hiscock, Robert Sparkes, Alan Hodgson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

31 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, climatological, geological and land use data were used to characterise five study areas in northern and southern Europe, centred on the Å, Medway, Seine, Guadalquivir and Po river basins. To analyse the impacts of climate change on groundwater resources in these areas, four Global Circulation Models (GCMs) were used to predict future precipitation and temperature trends based on a ‘high’ (SRES A1FI) gas emissions scenario for the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s with these values then used in a soil moisture balance model to calculate future potential groundwater recharge. Most GCMs predict that, by the end of this century, northern Europe will receive more winter rainfall, leading to increased groundwater recharge but during a shorter time period, and that summers will be drier with a longer period of limited or no groundwater recharge. In order to adapt to these conditions, it will be necessary to capture the winter recharge and use it efficiently to meet the summer demand for water. Southern Europe is expected to experience lower groundwater recharge overall and may become more water stressed than present, with any increase in winter recharge unable to compensate for reduced autumn groundwater recharge. Southern Spain is predicted to be one of the worst affected regions with almost the total disappearance of groundwater recharge. In this and similar water- stressed regions, future demand for drinking water and irrigation will need to be managed sustainably with supplies potentially supplemented by non- conventional water resources such as waste water reclamation and reuse.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change Effects on Groundwater Resources
Subtitle of host publicationA Global Synthesis of Findings and Recommendations
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780203120767
ISBN (Print)9780415689366
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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