Climate Change and Water Supply - Consequences of Climate Change and Potential Adaptation Strategies - page 04



Adaptation options for water suppliers

Adapting to climate change basically concerns society as a whole. This is true also for the adaption in drinking water supply, although water suppliers play a key role in this regard.

In order to identify suitable adaptation measures, water suppliers should analyse their individual situation comprehensively, focusing on the following questions, for example:

  • ­Which impacts and consequences will affect a supply system?
  • Which assets and processes of a supply system are particularly sensitive to the expected impacts?
  • Which adaptation options do the ongoing operation schemes and the established management tools offer?
  • What needs to be considered with regard to future investments?

A continuous integration of the findings thus obtained into all planning and decision-making processes of the operation is crucial.

The following provides an overview of adaptation options for water suppliers:

Management and protection of water resources

  • Trend analyses and drawing up of long-term water availability projections
  • Area-specific adaptation of monitoring networks and programmes enabling staff to knowledgeably assess potential quality changes.
  • Integrated water resources management taking into account aspects of both quality and quantity
  • Securing drinking water supply through official spatial planning and water resources planning and approval procedures.

Abstraction, treatment and network operation

  • Redundant abstraction systems allow for a flexible combination of different types of raw water resources and abstraction technologies. This may be achieved by creating networks (developing additional proprietary raw water sources, integrating adjacent local direct supplies, connecting to regional water supply systems).
  • Adapting wells and pumping facilities to changing parameters (e.g. permanent or temporary phreatic decline or falling reservoir water levels)
  • Adapting water treatment to expected new or changed raw water qualities
  • Creating disinfection facilities in storage and distribution systems.
  • Creating larger storage capacities in water works and networks to ensure that supplies meet growing peak demands
  • Adaptation of network inspection and flushing schemes
  • Keeping water losses permanently low

Organisation and management

  • Adapting organisational structures and management processes to the expected changes so as to be able to manage risks and crises