Needs for adaption to the new climate
The climate changes will affect the assessment and delineation of suitable industrial and agricultural development areas due to flooding. Rise in groundwater and sea levels will challenge the construction business and it will be necessary to come up with new standards. It will also change the available groundwater resource and pattern of stream flow between summer and winter (reduced potential for irrigation). Rising sea levels will also affect the development of recreational areas and water abstraction in coastal zones due to flooding and seawater intrusion into fresh aquifers. Climate change scenarios pose great challenges to adaptive transboundary spatial planning in the North Sea region as well as in other regions.
Numerous Interreg IVB-proposals focus on the effects of flooding from surface run off and adaption to a new climate regime. This project has a focus on “flooding” underneath the surface where groundwater levels may rise above or close to the surface. This aspect is not at present elaborated very much either on EU or national levels. The results from this project will be used to predict how the future climate affects groundwater quantity and quality and hence societies in lowlands around the North Sea region and groundwater dependent ecosystems. There will be a need for new legislation or new standards for engineering of drainage, roads and buildings, and status assessments of the aquatic environment at regional, national and EU level, when climate and water and pollution fluxes change. The CLIWAT project will initiate important cooperation on transboundary evaluation of the effect of different climate scenarios in the North Sea region and prediction tools, maps and visualisations on a public internet site in order to facilitate cooperation and increase public awareness and understanding of the expected changes.
However, it is important to stress that we are moving into unknown scientific land where continued change in the focus of the research and results will call for an interactive work with boards representing science, authorities and the technical society of the represented countries. The CLIWAT project will establish such boards, in order to adapt to climate change, reduce risks and protect society and nature in a more extreme climate.