A review of the risks to water resources in Scotland in response to climate change

Boca, Ana-Diana and White, Christopher J. and Bertram, Doug (2022) A review of the risks to water resources in Scotland in response to climate change. Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW), Aberdeen. (https://www.crew.ac.uk/publication/review-risks-wa...)

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There is "irrefutable evidence" that the global climate is changing due to human activities. Even in 'water rich' countries like Scotland, these changes will have implications for the future of water resources. In Scotland, changes in rainfall patterns (spatially, temporally, and seasonally), together with the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events including flood and drought, would result in significant challenges for Scotland’s key industries including the water sector. Such changes will impact drinking water supply, energy, agriculture, economic activity, and supply chains. Although there are inherent uncertainties surrounding the climate change projections for precipitation at the global scale, and what they mean regionally for Scotland, especially in the short-term (e.g., the next 30 years), water companies in Scotland increasingly need to compare and balance the evidence relating to changes to Scotland’s climate with their medium to long term planning decisions about the way water is stored, managed, and used. This evidence report provides a review of studies that have assessed historical and future river flow and water availability changes in Scotland, as well as evidence on how climatic, hydrological, and other catchment-based processes may influence water resource availability in the future. Recommendations for future lines of research on effects of climate change on Scotland’s water resources are made.