Drinking water treatment adaptation to increasing levels of DOM and changing DOM quality under climate change (DOMQUA)

The DOMQUA project will assess how to adapt drinking water facilities in the Nordic countries to future DOM concentrations and color of raw water sources under climate change.

Lakes and rivers are the source of drinking water for most people in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Presently, climate change is posing a threat for the quality of drinking water sources. In recent years, concentrations of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in lakes and rivers have increased and associated with this, surface waters have become browner.

 

Both climate and atmospheric deposition are likely to blame for the brownification of surface waters. Brownification is expected to continue under climate change, but to what extent is unclear. Removal of DOM is one of the key steps in drinking water treatment, and the current development of higher DOM poses challenges to the drinking water industry.

 

Adaptation measures needed are likely to raise costs of water treatment and require long-term investments. In order to maintain good drinking water quality in the future, municipalities and other stakeholders urgently need science-based projections of raw water quality under climate change as well as information about the possibilities for and costs of adaptation.

 

The DOMQUA project will assess how to adapt drinking water facilities in the Nordic countries to future DOM concentrations and color of raw water sources under climate change. Researchers will quantify current trends and drivers of DOM (quantity and quality) in Nordic surface waters and apply process-based models to lake and streams where long historical records on climate and DOM concentrations are available.

 

These models will be used to simulate DOM concentrations under climate change, given several alternative future climate scenarios. The results will be extrapolated regionally to Norway, Sweden and Finland, and specifically to case studies of the drinking water suppliers of Oslo and Helsinki.

 

DOMQUA will assess costs of adaptation using results from the project and in collaboration with those who have hands-on experience with water treatment in drinking water facilities. The researchers will share this information with stakeholders through Nordic and national trade conferences, seminars and journals. The scientific results will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

 

Project leader: Heleen de Wit, NIVA – Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Norway

 

DOMQUA website

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