Fowler, H.J., Kilsby, C.G. and Stunell, J. 2007. Modelling the impacts of projected future climate change on water resources in northwest England. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 11(3), 1115-1126.



During the last two decades there has been concern over the frequency of water resource drought in the UK. The more recent pan-European drought of 2003 has increased the concerns that our climate is changing. In this study we investigate the impact of climate change on the operation of the Integrated Resource Zone (IRZ), a complex conjunctive-use water supply system in the northwest of England. Climate change impacts are examined using the UKCIP02 Medium-High (SRES A2) scenario for 2070-2100. Results indicate that the contribution of individual sources to overall yield may change substantially under climate change, with increases (decreases) in take of ~140% (~-77%), but that the overall yield is reduced by only 18.3%. Moreover, the flexibility of the system means that it is still able to meet modelled demand for the majority of the time under future climate, even without a change in system management. However, increased abstraction from lake and borehole sources and the associated pumping costs mean that meeting this demand may be increasingly expensive. This research provides a basis for the future planning and management of the complex IRZ water resource system in the northwest of England.