Special Issue "Integrated Water Assessment and Management under Climate Change"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 6920

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Glen R. Walker
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
CSIRO, Grounded in Water, 2/490 Portrush Rd, St Georges, Adelaide 5064, Australia
Interests: groundwater recharge; dryland salinity; climate change; groundwater-surface water interaction; groundwater management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This issue focuses on the assessment of impacts of a changing climate on water resources and information required to support adaptive water management, using case examples, where possible. Uncertainty and risk are central to management. This is especially important, where the rate of change of climatic and other conditions means future water availability will not reflect current conditions and the current management approaches to sustainable management will no longer suffice.  For example, where increasing water scarcity and variability is an issue, there may need to be a shift to alternative and more climate-resilient water sources to meet demand;  a shift to greater conjunctive management; or management changes to protect water-dependent environmental values.

Articles in this issue should describe research, that for future climate:

  • assesses changing water availability, including for connected water sources; or
  • describes approaches to assessment of uncertainty to support adaptation strategies; or
  • provides other information to support integrated water management.

For some of the vulnerable areas, there may be economic or pragmatic difficulty in using some technical approaches and innovation is required to assess and manage the resource. Every situation is different; and the use of case studies is sometimes the best way to illustrate important issues.

Dr. Glen R. Walker
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Risk and uncertainty
  • Integrated water managment
  • Water assessment
  • Conjunctive water management

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Water Balance of a Small Island Experiencing Climate Change
Water 2022, 14(11), 1771; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14111771 - 31 May 2022
Viewed by 631
Abstract
Small islands provide challenges to hydrological investigation, both in terms of the physical environment and available resources for hydrological monitoring. Furthermore, small islands are generally more vulnerable to natural disasters and water shortages for resident populations. Norfolk Island in the South–west Pacific, is [...] Read more.
Small islands provide challenges to hydrological investigation, both in terms of the physical environment and available resources for hydrological monitoring. Furthermore, small islands are generally more vulnerable to natural disasters and water shortages for resident populations. Norfolk Island in the South–west Pacific, is typical in these respects, and recent water shortages have highlighted the lack of hydrological knowledge required to make informed decisions regarding water supply. Accordingly, a campaign of field measurements and analysis was conducted on Norfolk Island in the 2019–2020 period and these were compared to data from the 1970’s and 1980’s along with climate records to provide some insight into the behaviour and changes to the hydrology of the island over the last 50 years. Data indicates that a decline in rainfall across the 50 year water balance period (13%) combined with increased potential evapo-transpiration and changes to land cover have reduced recharge by 27%. Reduced recharge resulted in a significant decline in the groundwater potentiometric surface and runoff (reduced by around 57%). Examination of the water balance indicates that the majority (70–80%) of recharge across the 50 year period discharges to the ocean via cliff or submarine discharge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Water Assessment and Management under Climate Change)
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Article
The Importance of Legislative Reform to Enable Adaptive Management of Water Resources in a Drying Climate
Water 2022, 14(9), 1404; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14091404 - 27 Apr 2022
Viewed by 406
Abstract
In South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, groundwater provides 85% of the region’s reticulated water supply. Fresh groundwater resides within shallow karstic limestone aquifers recharged by incident rainfall. Water levels are very responsive to short-term climate variability and are at risk of sustained decline due [...] Read more.
In South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, groundwater provides 85% of the region’s reticulated water supply. Fresh groundwater resides within shallow karstic limestone aquifers recharged by incident rainfall. Water levels are very responsive to short-term climate variability and are at risk of sustained decline due to long-term drying trends and the further rainfall declines indicated by projections of future climate, thereby increasing risk to water security and groundwater-dependent ecosystems. In 2009, a new adaptive resource management approach was enabled through legislative reform that better addresses climate variability, particularly where aquifer robustness is low. This allows the volume of water available for licensed allocations to be varied annually depending on the current condition of the aquifer resources. A three-tiered trigger level policy varies the rate at which water allocations are limited in proportion to monitored changes in groundwater storage. The three trigger thresholds are specified for each discrete groundwater resource, based on levels of risk. We now have more than five years of observations and practice of this approach to learn of its efficacy and consequences for water users, the water resources, and the environment. It has proved to be an effective way to deal with the uncertainties in how and when climate may change and how water management principles can effectively respond. Our case study provides an example of the importance of legislative reform to enable adaptive water resource management to effectively tackle the challenges of water planning in a drying climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Water Assessment and Management under Climate Change)
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Article
Resolution Dependence of Regional Hydro-Climatic Projection: A Case-Study for the Johor River Basin, Malaysia
Water 2021, 13(22), 3158; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223158 - 09 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 650
Abstract
High resolution models from the High-Resolution Model Intercomparison Project (HighResMIP), part of CMIP6, have the capacity to allow a better representation of the climate system in tropical regions, but how different model resolutions affect hydrological outputs remains unclear. This research aims to evaluate [...] Read more.
High resolution models from the High-Resolution Model Intercomparison Project (HighResMIP), part of CMIP6, have the capacity to allow a better representation of the climate system in tropical regions, but how different model resolutions affect hydrological outputs remains unclear. This research aims to evaluate projections of hydro-climatic change of the Johor River Basin (JRB) in southern Peninsular Malaysia between 1985 to 2015 and 2021 to 2050, focusing on uncertainty quantification of hydrological outputs from low (>1°), medium (0.5° to 1°) and high (≤0.5°) horizontal resolution models. These projections show future increases in annual precipitation of 0.4 to 3.1%, minimum and maximum temperature increases of 0.8 to 0.9 °C and 0.9 to 1.1 °C, respectively. These projected climate changes lead to increases in annual mean streamflow of 0.9% to 7.0% and surface runoff of 7.0% to 20.6% in the JRB. These annual mean changes are consistent with those during the wet period (November to December), e.g., streamflow increases of 4.9% to 10.8% and surface runoff of 28.8 to 39.9% in December. Disagreement in the direction of change is found during the dry seasons, (February to March and May to September), where high resolution models project a decrease in future monthly precipitation and streamflow, whilst increases are projected by the medium- and low-resolution models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Water Assessment and Management under Climate Change)
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Article
Evaluation of Streamflow under Climate Change in the Zambezi River Basin of Southern Africa
Water 2021, 13(21), 3114; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213114 - 04 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 555
Abstract
The Zambezi River basin is the fourth largest basin in Africa and the largest in southern Africa, comprising 5% of the total area of the continent. The basin is extremely vulnerable to climate change effects due to its highly variable climate. The purpose [...] Read more.
The Zambezi River basin is the fourth largest basin in Africa and the largest in southern Africa, comprising 5% of the total area of the continent. The basin is extremely vulnerable to climate change effects due to its highly variable climate. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of climate change on streamflow in one of the sub-basins, the Kabombo basin. The multi- global climate model projections were used as input to the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) hydrological model for simulation of streamflow under RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 climate scenarios. The model predicted an annual streamflow increase of 85% and 6% for high uncertainty and strong consensus, respectively, under RCP 8.5. The model predicted a slightly reduced annual streamflow of less than 3% under RCP 4.5. The majority of simulations indicated that intra-annual and inter-annual streamflow variability will increase in the future for RCP 8.5 while it will reduce for the RCP 4.5 scenario. The predicted high and moderate rise in streamflow for RCP 8.5 suggests the need for adaptation plans and mitigation strategies. In contrast, the streamflow predicted for RCP 4.5 indicates that there may be a need to review the current management strategies of the water resources in the basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Water Assessment and Management under Climate Change)
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Article
Integrated Assessment of Groundwater Potential Using Geospatial Techniques in Southern Africa: A Case Study in the Zambezi River Basin
Water 2021, 13(19), 2610; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192610 - 22 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 688
Abstract
Groundwater resources are largely used in rural communities of river basins due to their acceptable water quality and reliability for domestic purposes where little or no treatment is required. However, groundwater resources have been affected by changes in land use, mining activities, agricultural [...] Read more.
Groundwater resources are largely used in rural communities of river basins due to their acceptable water quality and reliability for domestic purposes where little or no treatment is required. However, groundwater resources have been affected by changes in land use, mining activities, agricultural practices, industrial effluent, and urbanisation among anthropogenic influences while climate change impacts and volcanic eruptions have affected its involvement among the natural phenomena. The purpose of the study was to assess groundwater potential in the basin with the use of Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), remote sensing, GIS techniques, and groundwater occurrence and movement influencing factors. These factors were used to produce seven thematic maps, which were then assigned weights and scale using an AHP tool, based on their degree of influence on groundwater occurrence and movement. A weighted groundwater potential map was produced with four zones denoted as 0.4% (317 km2) for very good potential; 27% (19,170 km2) for good potential; 61% (43,961 km2) for moderate potential and 12% (8639 km2) for poor potential. Validation, using existing boreholes, showed that 89% were overlain on moderate to very good potential zones and henceforth considered to be a novel approach which is useful for groundwater resources assessment and integrated water management in the basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Water Assessment and Management under Climate Change)
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Article
Adapting Water Management to Climate Change in the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia
Water 2021, 13(18), 2504; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182504 - 12 Sep 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1253
Abstract
Climate change is threatening water security in water-scarce regions across the world, challenging water management policy in terms of how best to adapt. Transformative new approaches have been proposed, but management policies remain largely the same in many instances, and there are claims [...] Read more.
Climate change is threatening water security in water-scarce regions across the world, challenging water management policy in terms of how best to adapt. Transformative new approaches have been proposed, but management policies remain largely the same in many instances, and there are claims that good current management practice is well adapted. This paper takes the case of the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia, where management policies are highly sophisticated and have been through a recent transformation in order to critically review how well adapted the basin’s management is to climate change. This paper synthesizes published data, recent literature, and water plans in order to evaluate the outcomes of water management policy. It identifies several limitations and inequities that could emerge in the context of climate change and, through synthesis of the broader climate adaptation literature, proposes solutions that can be implemented when basin management is formally reviewed in 2026. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Water Assessment and Management under Climate Change)
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Article
Conceptual Model Modification and the Millennium Drought of Southeastern Australia
Water 2021, 13(5), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050669 - 01 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 927
Abstract
Long-term droughts observed in southern Australia have changed relationships between annual rainfall and runoff and tested some of the assumptions implicit in rainfall–runoff models used in these areas. Predictive confidence across these periods is when low using the more commonly used rainfall–runoff models. [...] Read more.
Long-term droughts observed in southern Australia have changed relationships between annual rainfall and runoff and tested some of the assumptions implicit in rainfall–runoff models used in these areas. Predictive confidence across these periods is when low using the more commonly used rainfall–runoff models. Here we modified the GR4J model to better represent surface water–groundwater connection and its role in runoff generation. The modified model (GR7J) was tested in 137 catchments in south-east Australia. Models were calibrated during “wetter” periods and simulation across drought periods was assessed against observations. GR7J performed better than GR4J in evaluation during drought periods where bias was significantly lower and showed improved fit across the flow duration curve especially at low flows. The largest improvements in predictive performance were for catchments where there were larger changes in the annual rainfall–runoff relationship. The predictive performance of the GR7J model was more sensitive to objective function used than GR4J. The use of an objective function that combined daily and annual error produced a better goodness of fit when measured against 80, 50 and 20 percent excedance flow quantiles and reduced evaluation bias, especially for the GR7J model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Water Assessment and Management under Climate Change)
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Review

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Review
Groundwater Impacts and Management under a Drying Climate in Southern Australia
Water 2021, 13(24), 3588; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243588 - 14 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 853
Abstract
The trend to a hotter and drier climate, with more extended droughts, has been observed in recent decades in southern Australia and is projected to continue under climate change. This paper reviews studies on the projected impacts of climate change on groundwater and [...] Read more.
The trend to a hotter and drier climate, with more extended droughts, has been observed in recent decades in southern Australia and is projected to continue under climate change. This paper reviews studies on the projected impacts of climate change on groundwater and associated environmental assets in southern Australia, and describes groundwater planning frameworks and management responses. High-risk areas are spatially patchy due to highly saline groundwater or low-transmissivity aquifers. The proportional reduction in rainfall is amplified in the groundwater recharge and some groundwater discharge fluxes. This leads to issues of deteriorating groundwater-dependent ecosystems, streamflow depletion, reduced submarine discharge, groundwater inundation and intrusion in coastal regions and reduced groundwater supply for extraction. Recent water reforms in Australia support the mitigation of these impacts, but groundwater adaptation is still at its infancy. Risk management is being incorporated in regional water and groundwater management plans to support a shift to a more sustainable level of use and more climate-resilient water resources in affected areas. The emerging strategies of groundwater trade and managed aquifer recharge are described, as is the need for a national water-focused climate change planning process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Water Assessment and Management under Climate Change)
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