Norway: the climate crisis is impacting drinking water



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Norway: the climate crisis is impacting drinking water

Global warming due to the climate crisis has led to an increase in extreme phenomena related to the water cycle such as floods, droughts, desertification, melting ice, rising ocean levels, and changes to atmospheric circulation patterns with cold waves and more intense cyclonic phenomena.

The predominant causes are to be found in human activity, due to the emissions into the earth's atmosphere of increasing quantities of greenhouse gases, with a consequent increase in the greenhouse effect. and to other factors always attributable to human activities.

The Kyoto protocol, signed in 1997 and which in November 2009 counts the accession of 187 States, aims to aim at the reduction of these greenhouse gases produced by man. The Paris Agreement, signed in November 2015, commits participating States to keeping the increase in global temperature well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.

The recent CoP27 in Egypt has not led to decisive conclusions either, unfortunately. Many countries are dealing with the impact of the climate crisis, one of them is Norway. The study Impacts of climate change on drinking water quality in Norway, published in the Journal of water and health, explained: "Climate change will lead to higher temperatures, increased precipitation and runoff, as well as more intense and frequent extreme weather events in Norway.

More extreme rainfall and increased runoff are historically associated with higher concentrations of indicator bacteria, color and turbidity in raw water of Norwegian waterworks. Regional information about the risk for drinking water deterioration by the end of the century is essential for evaluating potential treatment capacity upgrades at the waterworks.We combined locally downscaled future climate scenarios with historical associations between weather/runoff and water quality from a wide spread of waterworks in Norway.With continued climate change, we estimate higher concentrations of water quality indicators of raw water by the end of the century.

The water quality is estimated to deteriorate mainly due to the projected increase in rainfall, and mainly in the Western and Northern parts of Norway While large waterworks seem to be able to adapt to future conditions, the degradation of raw water quality may cause future challenges for the treatment processes at smaller waterworks.

Combining these results with further studies of treatment effects and microbial risk assessments is needed to ensure sufficient treatment capacities of the raw water in the future."