The Environment Agency has warned that recent research findings show climate change will create a need for radical changes in water management to avert greater drought vulnerability and river environments choked by a “green soup” of plant proliferation.
In two research reports on the effect of climate change on water quality the agency has concluded that:
left unchecked climate change will shift annual patterns of groundwater replenishment and increase drought vulnerability; and
it will boost nutrient levels in slow-flowing rivers leading to greater risk of blooms of algae that alter the quality of the water and how it can be used.
The reports, the agency said “highlight the need to start talking about how best to manage future climate impacts, particularly in locations where existing measures will not work in the long term.”
The report National groundwater recharge assessment under climate change, shows how the period in the year when groundwater is replenished could shorten which could increase the risk of drought and flash flooding. The second report: Climate change and eutrophication risk thresholds in English rivers showed increased risk of eutrophication – excessive nutrient levels – in all but one of the sites studied.