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Cross-cutting Perspective Freshwater

Authors
  • Furusho, C.
  • Vidaurre, R.
  • La Jeunesse, I.
  • Ramos, M.H.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2016
Source
HAL-UPMC
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
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Abstract

One singularity of northwestern Europe (NWE) is that severe droughts are rare events in the region and water scarcity has hardly been experienced in its history. The DROP pilot sites are not exceptions to this context. Although the lack of a drought history in wet areas can explain why drought and water scarcity are not necessarily the focus of (if ever considered in) river basin management plans, it must be noted that freshwater availability for drinking water provision remains a priority stake in both quantitative and qualitative aspects. Providing a reliable and safe supply of drinking water may thus be a leading entryway to the development of drought risk awareness and drought adaptation measures in a river basin. When such essential resource is threatened and the competition for water among users increases, there is a good chance that reflections and changes will be triggered. Water use conflicts and drinking water supply threats may arise due to increased water demand, but also due to decreased water availability. The later may occur because of natural climate variability, i.e., drier years than average, or as the result of the impact of climate change on local water resources. Climate change awareness is then an important asset to manage water availability. Where climate change awareness is low and adaptation measures are basically inexistent, social and political responses to drought adaptation may be slow and inefficient. However, even in those cases where climate change awareness is still low in general society, water authorities and other stakeholders are conscious that water demand tends to intensify with population and economic growth, rendering water scarcity conceivable and even foreseeable. Freshwater availability for drinking water supply is therefore an issue that can motivate the introduction of drought and water scarcity risks into the political and public agenda , even in “ drought-scarce ” regions. This chapter highlights the links between drought governance and the vulnerability of freshwater for drinking water supply, with a focus on drought adaptation. The main issues presented here are illustrated with how freshwater issues are managed in the DROP project cases with a particular focus on the two “ freshwater reservoir ” pilot sites: the Arzal dam in Brittany France (see Chap. 6 ) and the Eifel-Rur in Germany (see Chap. 4 ). Those two cases deal with reservoir management not only for drinking water supply (Fig. 11.1 ) but also for other uses, with various priority sets.

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