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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Climate Change Implications for Water Availability: A Case Study of Barcelona City

1
Cetaqua, Water Technology Centre. Carretera d’Esplugues, 75, Cornellà de Llobregat, 08940 Barcelona, Spain
2
FLUMEN Research Institute, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Calle del Gran Capità, 6, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
3
FIC- Climate Research Foundation, 28013 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1779; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051779
Received: 30 January 2020 / Revised: 22 February 2020 / Accepted: 26 February 2020 / Published: 27 February 2020
Barcelona city has a strong dependence on the Ter and Llobregat reservoir system to provide drinking water. One main concern for the next century is a potential water scarcity triggered by a severe and persistent rainfall shortage. This is one of the climate-driven impacts studied within the EU funded project RESCCUE. To evaluate potential drought scenarios, the Hydrologiska Byråns Vattenbalansavdelning (HBV) hydrological model reproduces the water contributions by month that have reached the reservoirs, regarding the accumulated rainfall over each sub-basin, representing the available historical-observed water levels. For future scenarios, we adjusted the input data set using climate projections of rainfall time series data of the project RESCCUE. Local outputs from 9 different climate models were applied to simulate river basins’ responses to reservoirs’ incoming water volume. Analyzing these results, we obtained average trends of the models for each scenario, hypothetical extreme values, and quantification for changes in water availability. Future water availability scenarios for Barcelona central water sources showed a mean decrease close to 11% in comparison with the period 1971–2015, considering the representative concentration pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) climate change scenario in the year 2100. This research forecasts a slight downward trend in water availability from rainfall contributions from the mid-21st century. This planned future behavior does not mean that the annual water contributions are getting lower than the current ones, but rather, identifies an escalation in the frequency of drought cycles. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought; water scarcity; water availability; climate change; hydrological modeling; resilience drought; water scarcity; water availability; climate change; hydrological modeling; resilience
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Forero-Ortiz, E.; Martínez-Gomariz, E.; Monjo, R. Climate Change Implications for Water Availability: A Case Study of Barcelona City. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1779.

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