Impact of climate change on the quality of urban and coastal waters (diffuse pollution)

Project Details

Description

DiPol intends to make a contribution to retain sustainable and healthy urban and coastal waters despite potential adverse effects of climate change.
European urban areas face a number of environmental problems such as air pollution, traffic volumes, scarcity of recreational areas, generation of large volumes of waste and waste water, and historical industrial legacies.
Within the Water framework Directive (WFD, 2000) the water related problems are mapped and linked to their
sources. However, the management options don’t take into account the risks in a catchment area (from urban
areas to coastal zones) under extreme conditions. Solutions need to be forward-looking and anticipate future
risks such as the impacts of climate change as well as contribute to national, regional and global policies (Technical Report of the EC 2007-013). Education and awareness of the link between societal behaviour and development, environmental quality and economic development is necessary for the long-term mitigation of environment and climate related problems. While direct consequences of climate change on urban development (e.g. flooding) have been addressed in a number of projects (see 3.9), secondary implications of increased urban runoff, higher contaminant loads of rivers during more frequent floods, the risks of rising ground water levels in industrialized areas and of stronger rainfalls on the contamination of urban waters has received little attention until now. Ultimately these contaminated fresh water ends up in the coastal waters. Increased introduction of contaminants into surface waters in the coastal zone may counteract sustainable urban development (human health, quality of life, economic attraction) as well as European environmental strategies such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the planned European Marine Strategy.
Starting from visions of school children and of the public on future environmental services (e.g. suitability of public waterways for swimming), those climate change related processes that support or endanger these visions by affecting the quality of urban and coastal waters will be in the focus of this project. They will be used to develop a plan for sustainable development in their communities. Quality-related impacts of rainfall, sea level rise, and river discharges will be investigated relative to the way they may alter the living environment and endanger the realization of these visions within the next 50 years, and measures or alternatives will be suggested to either prevent or adapt to the expected impacts.
Experts on atmospheric, river and marine pollution from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany will work together with local administrators and regional managers to identify impediments to this sustainable development that are related to climate change. Risks due to different emission pathways (e.g. urban water run-off) will be related to each other and prioritized with regard to their impact and potential management measures. These measures will then be communicated to the public.
Approaches to address and counter risks to the goals of the European Environmental policies through changes
in the emission of priority substances will be introduced by the EU-Joint Research Centre into the international
working group level that drafts guidance for the monitoring concepts of the WFD, and realizes the Oslo-Paris
Convention on the protection of the North Sea.
AcronymDiPol
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date01/01/200931/12/2011