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Water 2018, 10(9), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10091186

Water Quantity and Quality under Future Climate and Societal Scenarios: A Basin-Wide Approach Applied to the Sorraia River, Portugal

1
Centro de Ciência e Tecnologia do Ambiente e do Mar, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
2
AQUALOGUS, Rua do Mar da China N.° 1 Escritório 2.4, Parque das Nações, 1990-137 Lisboa, Portugal
3
Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal
4
Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability, Instituto Superior Técnico, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 August 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 30 August 2018 / Published: 4 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Abstract

Water resources are impacted by several stressors like over-population and over consumption that compromises their availability. These stressors are expected to progressively intensify due to climate change in most regions of the world, with direct impact on watersheds and river systems. This study investigates the effect of different watershed pressure scenarios due to climate change in the hydrological regime of the Sorraia River basin, Portugal. This catchment includes one of the largest irrigated areas in the country, thus being strongly influenced by anthropogenic activities, associated to hydrological (irrigation, flow regulation, damming) and nutrient stressors. The Soil Water Assessment Tool has been used to simulate water flow and nutrient dynamics in the watershed while considering inputs from two climate models and three societal scenarios. Results have shown that the predicted rainfall reductions will have a significant impact on river flow and nutrient concentrations when compared to baseline conditions. River flow will expectably decrease by 75%, while nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in river water will expectably increase by 500% and 200%, respectively. These differences are more evident for storylines that consider increasing pressures such as population growth and agricultural expansion marked with unsustainable practices and increased reliance on technology. The results of this study indicate a possible future outcome and provide effective guidelines for the formulation of water management policies to counter the impacts of climate change and corresponding environmental pressures in the Sorraia River basin. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrological modelling; climate change; basin management scenarios; Sorraia River Basin hydrological modelling; climate change; basin management scenarios; Sorraia River Basin
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Almeida, C.; Ramos, T.B.; Segurado, P.; Branco, P.; Neves, R.; Proença de Oliveira, R. Water Quantity and Quality under Future Climate and Societal Scenarios: A Basin-Wide Approach Applied to the Sorraia River, Portugal. Water 2018, 10, 1186.

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