Adaptation of the water supply to climate change

What needs to be done in the water supply sector to ensure public drinking water supply in vulnerable low mountain regions even under changed climatic conditions? TZW is considering this question as part of a research project within the climate change and model-based adaptation campaign (KLIMOPASS). 

The drinking water supply structures of 20 communities in the Black Forest/Swabian Alb region were surveyed and a supply and demand analysis was carried out. This served as the basis to develop a generally applicable methodology to formulate measures to adapt water supply to climate change in the individual communities.

According to calculations on the climate-related change in spring water yield, for the common rather smaller springs a significantly lower minimum yield must be taken into account in the future. The decline in minimum flow might be > 50 % in some cases. From special relevance is the fact that the minimum yield occurs in the high-consumption summer weeks.

Nevertheless, a shortage in supply is expected in just a few cases in the study area. This is attributed to the fact that many suppliers have already constructed wells and/or created networks with neighboring water suppliers as a result of previous water shortages. All water suppliers solely relying on local spring water should investigate similar measures.

Spring waters are generally highly susceptible to contamination from surface water inflow, e. g. during heavy rainfall. In future, it is anticipated that further treatment measures will be required to remove particles, and microorganisms respectively, in more than 70 % of the systems in the project region. In terms of extended power failures as a result of extreme weather, measures to increase resilience are also becoming more important, for example purchasing emergency power generators.


In preparation: EWP Konsequenzen des Klimawandels für Quellwasserversorgungen [Consequences of climate change for spring water supplies]