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Climate change impact on salinization of drinking water inlets along the Campine Canals, Belgium
Bertels, D.; Willems, P. (2022). Climate change impact on salinization of drinking water inlets along the Campine Canals, Belgium. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 42: 101129. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrh.2022.101129
In: Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies. Elsevier B.V.: Amsterdam. e-ISSN 2214-5818, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Salt intrusion; Climate change; Drinking water production; Flanders Region; Belgium

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    Study region: Campine Canals, in the north-eastern part of the Flanders Region of Belgium, between the Meuse river and the Port of Antwerp. The region is densely populated with limited water resources and vulnerable for water shortages.Study focus: The impact of climate change on salt intrusion in the Albert Canal, the area's major surface water source for drinking water production, is studied. Salt intrusion simulations are conducted by means of a conceptual mass balance model for the canal network combined with a solute transport model for the relevant canal reaches. A 110-year long time series of observed discharge at the upstream boundary is applied to simulate reference conditions for the current climate and is adjusted to account for future climate scenarios.New hydrological insights for the region: Salt water intrusion up to the drinking water inlets is rare under current climate conditions, but its occurrence will increase in the future, up to 1-2 % of the time by 2050, and up to 3-10 % of the time by 2100, for mid-and high-impact climate scenarios, respectively. Chloride concentrations will more often exceed the working limits of water production. These findings illustrate the need for a shift in canal management from the current main focus on inland navigation to a more holistic approach taking climate trends and water quality problems into account.

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