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Assessment of Climatic change and impacts on the Quantity and quality of Water (ACQWA)
Start date: 01 Oct 2008, End date: 31 Mar 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

As the evidence for human induced climate change becomes clearer, so too does the realization that its effects will have impacts on natural environment and socio-economic systems. Some regions are more vulnerable than others, both to physical changes and to the consequences for ways of life. The proposal will assess the impacts of a changing climate on the quantity and quality of water in mountain regions. Modeling techniques will be used to project the influence of climatic change on the major determinants of river discharge at various time and space scales. Regional climate models will provide the essential information on shifting precipitation and temperature patterns, and snow, ice, and biosphere models will feed into hydrological models in order to assess the changes in seasonality, amount, and incidence of extreme events in various catchment areas. Environmental and socio-economic responses to changes in hydrological regimes will be analyzed in terms of hazards, aquatic ecosystems, hydropower, tourism, agriculture, and the health implications of changing water quality. Attention will also be devoted to the interactions between land use/land cover changes, and changing or conflicting water resource demands. Adaptation and policy options will be elaborated on the basis of the model results. Specific environmental conditions of mountain regions will be particularly affected by rapidly rising temperatures, prolonged droughts and extreme precipitation. The methodological developments gained from a European mountain focus will be used to address water issues in regions whose economic conditions and political structures may compromise capacities to respond and adapt, such as the Andes and Central Asia where complex problems resulting from asymmetric power relations and less robust institutions arise. Methodologies developed to study European mountains and their institutional frameworks will identify vulnerabilities and be used to evaluate a range of policy options.
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