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Possible Effects Of Climate Changes On The Krka River Basin Management

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Jure Margeta (Split), Jure Margeta
University of Split, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Archictecture and Geodesy1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 17: Climate change, impacts and adaptation,
AbstractThis paper presents the approach and results of the analysis of potential impacts of predicted climate changes on the Krka river basin and associated coastal areas as well as mitigation measures. The analysis was carried out within the framework of the Integrated Coastal Management Plan of the Å ibenik-Knin County, which is a pilot project of the GEF project "Integration of climatic variability and change into national strategies to implement the ICZM Protocol in the Mediterranean." Krka is a typical karst river on the Adriatic coast, with the average annual flow of 55 m3/s. Its daily flow varies from 5 to 565 m3/s as the result of a typical Mediterranean climate and karst features of the basin. Freshwater part of the river is 72.5 km long, and the area of transitional-brackish water or estuary is 23.5 km long. The river has a big drop and steep riverbed and there are seven waterfalls that have a special landscape value. The associated coastal sea is well indented, with numerous islands. In the river basin there are two national parks, Krka and the Kornati islands. The water area of the Krka River is an important natural resource of the Å ibenik-Knin County. Due to this, the condition and changes that occur in the water area as the result of the use of land and water and climate changes have a direct and indirect impact on the overall development and living in the County. In water management of Krka river basin we are faced with new challenges-- climate change -- which, if left unmanaged, has the potential to bring tremendous problems and pain to millions of people and seriously disrupt the existing economic and political orders of the day. Coastal areas are especially endangered. Due to this, it is necessary to analyze these issues and increase the understanding of the near-term future. We should define the future features of the freshwater resources, increase management productivity and efficient use, and reduce its impact on food and energy production, and address risks on communities, economy and environment. We should also address water challenge problems which are the result of the sea level rise which is threatening the coastal environment, communities, economic and security infrastructure. There are other problems associated with the sea, such as ocean acidification, which is a threat to fishing and aquaculture. Because of all this, it will be necessary to continuously take actions needed to maintain the society's essential infrastructure like food, water, and a viable coastline. All these are new challenges which will be dealt with by experts in water management. Climate changes are generally monitored and analyzed at a global level. Unfortunately, there are very few reliable models and data that can be used to predict the conditions and changes at the regional or local level. Regardless of the shortcomings of such basic input data, engineers and experts should address this problem, predict changes in local water resources, define possible impacts and measures to address the issue. Although we do not know exactly how climate changes will evolve, we do know that we cannot ignore this threat and be unprepared. The management of climate changes in coastal zones is a complex and challenging problem, with multiple impacts and feedbacks and is highly uncertain and generally generated complex long-term solutions. The issues addressed are: risk management (low flow, flood flow, environmental flow), water withdrawal and consumptive use management, prioritization of water use, ecosystem-based water resources management thresholds, relationship between hydrologic alteration and ecological response, water resources management needs and others. The biggest challenge for water resource engineers is how to solve local problems on the basis of global data on the size and nature of climate changes and to thereby maintain the confidence of stakeholders in the local results and necessary actions. Another challenge is how to successfully resolve long-term problems that will result from climate changes with relatively modest resources and lack of support of the still sceptical individuals/decision makers. The issue of management of coastal zones, including the associated water resources, requires a system approach and integrated approach. This means that the whole coastal zone with its river basin is viewed as one integral unit, i.e. natural and man-made system. A tool used for solving such problems is the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response methodology. Since the input climate information is more qualitative than reliable quantitative values, the resulting projected impacts and consequences of climate change will be of primarily qualitative character. The use of tools by which problems are visualized and graphically presented is shown to be very useful. Good communication and involvement of stakeholders are realized by their application, which greatly helps to solve the problems. Another significant feature of the problems that affect the application of the specific methodology is long term horizon and gradualness of changes, like sea level rise. In these situations it is very difficult to provide a continuous support of politicians, the public and stakeholders. However, one of the impacts of climate change is the increase in size and frequency of extreme climatic conditions that lead to extreme hydrological conditions and consequences. This means that the problem will be more visible over the time and thus probably easier to solve. Addressing the problem systematically, from the general level to increasing detailing and elaboration, initially concentrating on major local issues or processes, impacts and consequences proved to be a ver 1. (2014) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC)'s Fifth Assessment Report 2. Margeta J., Azzopardi E. and Iacovides I. (1999) Integrated Approach to development, Management and Use of Water Resources, UNEP-MAP/PAP, Nairobi/Split
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