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EHGC Water

Project name: EHGC Water- Economic evaluation of hydrological climate change effects on water supply in the lower Mur-valley and Eastern Styria)
Project leader:Franz Prettenthaler (Joanneum Research; overall project coordination)
Andreas Gobiet (Uni Graz)
Project team:Manuel Borovsky (trainee)
Andreas Riegler
Heimo Truhetz
Partners:JJoanneum Research, Institute of Technology and Regional Policy, Graz  (project management)
Joanneum Research - Institute of Water and Resources Management, Graz


ÖAW - Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften

Duration:Feb. 2006 - Jun. 2006



Changes in distributions of precipitation, in run-off processes, and in the regeneration of groundwater are massively influencing the water supply in Eastern Styria. The project EHGC Water verifies the interactions of climatological global change effects, hydrological conditions, economic pre-conditions, and adaptation strategies in the face of water demand and its feedbacks on the water extraction and the structural economic progression. In order to develop the methods of a nationwide investigation program this project focusses on a representing area, Eastern Styria, to describe the complex interactions between climate, water supply, and agricultural activities.



The high resolution of the climate scenario of the reclip:more project (see ReLoClim Projects\reclip:more) allows the analysis of climate change in small sub-regions. Such an analysis for south-eastern Styria (districts Weiz, Hartberg, Fürstenfeld, and Feldbach, ~3000km2) has been performed as basis for the investigation of future options of water supply. The study area has been additionally subdivided into a hilly (<600m altitude) and a mountainous (>600m) region.
A temperature increase between 1.8–2.8°C (annual mean hilly: 2.3°C; mountainous: 2.4°C) is projected (see Fig. 1 and 2). The projected precipitation change is small in the annual mean (–0.2mm/day, <–10%) but seasonally highly variable: increases in winter (+0.4mm/day, +30%) and decreases in summer and autumn (up to –1.2mm/day, –45%) are projected (see Fig. 1 and 2).
These figures (together with the corresponding values for humidity) were used as input for a groundwater recharge model to simulate various different scenarios (different crops, temperature change only, temperature and precipitation change, dry/wet years) of groundwater recharge. Throughout all scenarios, a clear decrease of recharge was found reaching from –2% to –100% (up to ~118mm/a), the higher values generally found in scenarios including the precipitation change and soils with high field capacities.

Such changes can significantly disturb the water supply and adaptation measures are necessary. Various options have been analysed and economically evaluated with the main result that demand-side adaptation measures will not be sufficient to ensure water availability and supply-side measures are necessary. Since the exploitation of regional water resources does not have the potential to meet future demands, the import of water into the study region seems to be necessary. .



Dalla-Via, A., A. Gobiet, R. Kurzmann, I. Oberauner, F. Prettenthaler,
M. Steiner, H. Truhetz, N. Vetters, G. Zakarias,
EHGC Water Ökonomische Evaluierung hydrologischer Global Change Effekte
in der Wasserversorgung aus seichtliegenden Porenaquiferen im Unteren
Murtal und der Oststeiermark (in German).
Project Report, Joanneum Research, Graz, Austria, 2006.


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