Climatic Change

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 83–110 | Cite as

Climate Change and Water Resources in Britain

  • Nigel W. Arnell
Article

Abstract

This paper explores the potential implications of climate change for the use and management of water resources in Britain. It is based on a review of simulations of changes in river flows, groundwater recharge and river water quality. These simulations imply, under feasible climate change scenarios, that annual, winter and summer runoff will decrease in southern Britain, groundwater recharge will be reduced and that water quality – as characterised by nitrate concentrations and dissolved oxygen contents – will deteriorate. In northern Britain, river flows are likely to increase throughout the year, particularly in winter. Climate change may lead to increased demands for water, over and above that increase which is forecast for non-climatic reasons, primarily due to increased use for garden watering. These increased pressures on the water resource base will impact not only upon the reliability of water supplies, but also upon navigation, aquatic ecosystems, recreation and power generation, and will have implications for water quality management. Flood risk is likely to increase, implying a reduction in standards of flood protection. The paper discusses adaptation options.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arnell, N. W.: 1996, Global Warming, River Flows and Water Resources, Wiley, Chichester, p. 224.Google Scholar
  2. Arnell, N. W. and Dubourg, W. R.: 1995, ‘Implications for Water Supply and Management’, in Parry, M. L. and Duncan, R. (eds.), The Economic Implications of Climate Change in Britain, Earthscan, London, pp. 28–45.Google Scholar
  3. Arnell, N. W., Reynard, N. S., King, R., Prudhomme, C., and Branson, J.: 1997, ‘Effects of Climate Change on River Flows and Groundwater Recharge: Guidelines for Resource Assessment’, U.K. Water Industry Research Environment Agency, Report 97/CL/04/1, UKWIR: London, p. 32 + appendix.Google Scholar
  4. Arnell, N. W. and Reynard, N. S.: 1993, Impact of Climate Change on River Flow Regimes in the United Kingdom, Institute of Hydrology, Report to Department of the Environment, p. 130.Google Scholar
  5. Arnell, N. W. and Reynard, N. S.: 1996, ‘The Effects of Climate Change Due to Global Warming on River Flows in Great Britain’, J. Hydrol. 183, 397–424.Google Scholar
  6. Arnell, N. W., Clark, M. J., and Gurnell, A. M.: 1984. ‘Flood Insurance and Extreme Events: The Role of Crisis in Prompting Change in British Institutional Response to Flood Hazard’, Appl. Geogr. 4, 167–181.Google Scholar
  7. Arnell, N. W., Jenkins, A., and George, D. G.: 1994, The Implications of Climate Change for the National Rivers Authority, R&D Note 12, National Rivers Authority, Bristol, p. 94.Google Scholar
  8. Arnell, N. W., Bates, B., Lang, H., Magnuson, J. J., and Mulholland, P.: 1996, ‘Hydrology and Freshwater Ecology’, in Watson, R. T., Zinyowera, M. C., and Moss, R. H. (eds.), Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate Change. Scientific-Technical Analyses, Contribution of Working Group II to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Second Assessment Report, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 325–363.Google Scholar
  9. British Waterways: 1991, Annual Report and Accounts, 1991, British Waterways, Watford.Google Scholar
  10. Burd, F.: 1995, Managed Retreat: A Practical Guide, English Nature, Peterborough.Google Scholar
  11. Burrows, A. M. and House, M. A.: 1989, ‘Public's Perception of Water Quality and the Use of Water for Recreation’, in Laikari, H. (ed.), River Basin Management, Pergamon, Oxford, pp. 371–379.Google Scholar
  12. Clark, K. J., Clark, L., Cole, J. A., Slade, S., and Spoel, N.: 1992, Effect of Sea Level Rise on Water Resources, WRc plc. National Rivers Authority R&D Note 74.Google Scholar
  13. Clark, M. J. and Gardiner, J.: 1994, ‘Strategies for Handling Uncertainty in Integrated River Basin Planning’, in Kirby, C. and White, W. R. (eds.), Integrated River Basin Development, Wiley, Chichester, pp. 437–445.Google Scholar
  14. Climate Change Impacts Review Group: 1996, Review of the Potential Effects of Climate Change in the United Kingdom, Department of the Environment, HMSO, London, p. 248.Google Scholar
  15. Cole, J. A., Slade, S., Jones, P. D., and Gregory, J. M.: 1991, ‘Reliable Yield of Reservoirs and Possible Effects of Climatic Change’, Hydrol. Sci. J. 36, 579–597.Google Scholar
  16. Cooper, D. M., Wilkinson, W. B., and Arnell, N. W.: 1995, ‘The Effect of Climate Change on Aquifer Storage and River Baseflow’, Hydrol. Sci. J. 40, 615–631.Google Scholar
  17. Dearnaley, M. P. and Waller, M. N. H.: 1993, Impact of Climate Change on Estuarine Water Quality, HR Wallingford, Report to Department of the Environment, p. 54 + appendix.Google Scholar
  18. Department of the Environment: 1996a, Household Growth: Where Shall We Live?, The Stationery Office, London.Google Scholar
  19. Department of the Environment: 1996b, Water Resources and Supply: Agenda for Action, The Stationery Office: London, p. 84.Google Scholar
  20. Department of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and Welsh Office: 1992, Development in Flood Risk Areas, Circular 12/92.Google Scholar
  21. Department of Trade and Industry: 1995, Digest of Energy Statistics, HMSO, London.Google Scholar
  22. Dlugolecki, A., Harrison, P., Leggett, J., and Palutikof, J.: 1995, ‘Implications for Insurance and Finance’, in Parry, M. L. and Duncan, R. (eds.), The Economic Implications of Climate Change for Britain, Earthscan, London, pp. 83–102.Google Scholar
  23. Environment Committee: 1996, Water Conservation and Supply, First Report of the Environment Committee, House of Commons, Session 1996–97, The Stationery Office, London, p. 104.Google Scholar
  24. European Commission: 1994, ‘Ecological Quality of Water Directive, COM(93) 680’, Official Journal of the European Commission C222, 10/8/1994, p. 6.Google Scholar
  25. European Commission: 1996, European Community Water Policy, Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, COM (96) 59, Commission of the European Communities, Brussels, p. 14.Google Scholar
  26. Herrington, P.: 1996, Climate Change and the Demand for Water, HMSO, London, p. 164.Google Scholar
  27. Hooke, J. M.: 1995, ‘Processes of Channel Planform Change on Meandering Channels in the UK’, in Gurnell, A. M. and Petts, G. E. (eds.), Changing River Channels, Wiley, Chichester, pp. 87–115.Google Scholar
  28. Hulme, M.: 1996, The 1996 CCIRG Scenario of Changing Climate and Sea Level for the United Kingdom, Climate Impacts LINK Technical Note 7, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, p. 44.Google Scholar
  29. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change): 1996, Climate Change, The Second IPCC Scientific Assessment, Houghton, J. T., Meiro Filho, L. G., Callander, B. A., Harris, N., Kattenberg, A., and Maskell, K. (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 572.Google Scholar
  30. Jenkins, A., McCartney, M., and Sefton, C.: 1993, Impacts of Climate Change on River Water Quality in the United Kingdom, Institute of Hydrology, Wallingford, Report to Department of the Environment, p. 39.Google Scholar
  31. Kaczmarek, Z.: 1996, ‘Water Resources Management’, in Watson, R. T., Zinyowera, M. C., and Moss, R. H. (eds.), Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate Change. Scientific-Technical Analyses. Contribution of Working Group II to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Second Assessment Report, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 469–486.Google Scholar
  32. Murphy, J. M.: 1995, ‘Transient Response of the Hadley Centre Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Model to Increasing Carbon Dioxide', Part I: Control Climate and Flux Correction’, J. Climate 8, 36–56.Google Scholar
  33. Naden, P. S., Crooks, S., and Broadhurst, P.: 1996, ‘Impact of Climate and Land Use Change on the Flood Response of Large Catchments, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food’, Conference of River and Coastal Engineers, Keele, England, July 1996, p. 16.Google Scholar
  34. National Rivers Authority: 1994, Water: Nature's Precious Resource, NRA, Bristol, p. 94.Google Scholar
  35. Newson, M. D. and Lewin, J.: 1991, ‘Climate Change, River Flow Extremes and Fluvial Erosion — Scenarios for England and Wales’, Prog. Phys. Geogr. 15, pp. 1–17.Google Scholar
  36. OFWAT: 1996, Report on Recent Patterns of Demand for Water in England and Wales, Office of Water Services, Birmingham, p. 16.Google Scholar
  37. Parry, M. L., Carter, T. R., and Hulme, M. H.: 1996, 'What is a Dangerous Climate Change? Global Environ. Change 6, 1–6.Google Scholar
  38. Weatherhead, E. K., Place, A. J., Morris, J., and Burton, M.: 1993, Demand for Irrigation Water, R&D Report 14, National Rivers Authority, Bristol.Google Scholar
  39. Webb, B. W.: 1992, Climate Change and the Thermal Regime of Rivers, University of Exeter, Department of Geography, Report to Department of the Environment, p. 79.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nigel W. Arnell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of SouthamptonHighfield, SouthamptonU.K

Personalised recommendations