Climate Change Water Framework Directive

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  • 1. Key messages of the CIS workshop on River Basin Management Plans & Climate Change 21 November 2007
  • 2. Content
    • Relevant climate change impacts for WFD implementation
    • Action for first RBMP
    • Action for 2nd/3rd cycle
    • Data and knowledge gaps
    • Uncertainties & science-policy link
  • 3. Relevant CC impacts for WFD implementation- 1
    • Changes in:
    • Water temperature
    • River flow (annual & seasonal) – groundwater recharge; water availability
    • Frequency and intensity of extreme events
      • floods
      • droughts
    • Change in pollution load/ water quality
    • Effects in aquatic ecosystems
      • Loss of species and protected areas (e.g. wetlands)
      • Changes in eco-regions (northward movement)
      • Alien – invasive species
    • Sea level rise; salt water intrusion; coastal erosion
  • 4. Relevant CC impacts for WFD implementation - 2
    • Impacts on sectors
    • Hydropower
    • Cooling water for power plants
    • Navigation
    • Water supply/Water resource management plans
    • Infrastructure
    • Land use changes
    • These impacts will vary per region and per season.
  • 5. Action for first RBMP - 1
    • It is recommended that a chapter on climate change is established in the first RBMPs (national and international plans), aiming at:
      • Facilitating the public consultation
      • Improving general awareness of all actors for climate change trends and impacts
      • Paving the way for more climate change related actions in 2nd/3rd cycle
      • Allowing for incorporating international, national and regional information on predictions in a descriptive way (with reference to the used models and methodology)
    • Contents of such a chapter could be:
      • Summary of existing knowledge on climate change trends and scenarios
      • Identifying the main impacts, also on other sectors.
      • Outlook on future steps for incorporating climate change impacts into the planning process with a view to ensuring the adaptiveness of the programmes of measures
  • 6. Action for first RBMP - 2
    • An attempt should be made to do a climate check of the Programme of Measures on the basis of common sense and available knowledge - as in many cases, the direction of the main possible climate change impacts is known. First s uggestions for this climate check of the PoM were given at the Bonn workshop, and will be further exchanged at the next CIS SSG Climate & Water meeting with the aim of making this information widely available.
    • Win-win situations (=already planned measures in water-dependent sectors that could be adapted to be able to deal with climate change impacts) should be identified and irreversible actions should be avoided.
    • For water scarce areas, this first climate proofing should focus on the sustainable use of the existing available water.
  • 7. Action for 2nd/3rd cycle
    • Monitoring should be more focused to detect climate change impacts, when possible (e.g. surface water quantity, additional quality elements, biodiversity and influence of extreme event). Specific indicators could be developed. This could be further elaborated by relevant CIS groups.
    • Use exemptions in the same way as without climate change (i.e. are measures disproportionality expensive/technical feasible). Infrastructural adaptation measures might invoke Article 4(7) more often.
    • As part of the 6 year planning cycle, consider type changes for particular water bodies - on the basis of supporting data.
    • As part of the ongoing work at the EU level on ecological status, possible needs to adjust the reference conditions may be explored.
  • 8. Action for 2nd/3rd cycle
    • Programmes of Measures need to be made climate proof (1) as a default and on the basis of constantly evolving knowledge and new, more differentiated data. Guidance at the European level could be developed for this on the basis of the Ecologic input paper.
    • For particular measures, the contribution to mitigation as well as the climate impact (e.g. carbon emissions) need to be assessed.
    • The RBMPs plan should look into broader water management issues related to climate change (flood management, sediment management, land use, spatial planning, water demand/supply management).
    • Consider a long-term water management vision (25-50 year horizon), reflecting the timescale of climate change impacts.
    • (1) Climate proofing = ensuring the sustainability of investments over their entire lifetime, taking explicit account of a changing climate. Therefore, the Programme of Measures should be robust enough to cope with changing conditions.
  • 9. Data/knowledge gaps
    • Model chains need to be improved, from the global models to the regional scale;
    • Climate change impacts need to be translated (via water quality and water quantity aspects) into impacts on the ecological functioning;
    • Agreement at the appropriate level (European and/or river basin) is needed on scenarios and the ensemble of models;
    • Research results should be made available more widely and the data infrastructure needs to be improved;
  • 10. Uncertainties / Science-policy link
    • Uncertainties need to be communicated in a transparent way.
    • More research is needed, both on physical processes and on the way how to deal with remaining uncertainties.
    • In many cases, no-regret measures that are less dependent on high confidence levels could already be identified (e.g. “room for the river”). Furthermore, measures with less uncertainty should be prioritised;
    • Scientific information needs to be translated to water managers and operational practicioners;