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Variable withdrawal elevations as a management tool to counter the effects of climate warming in Germany’s largest drinking water reservoir

Mi, Chenxi, Sadeghian, Amir, Lindenschmidt, Karl-Erich, Rinke, Karsten
Environmental sciences Europe 2019 v.31 no.1 pp. 19
air temperature, altitude, drinking water, energy, global warming, heat, hydrodynamics, hydrologic models, ice, lakes, mixing, summer, temperate zones, temperature profiles, water quality, water reservoirs, winter, Germany
BACKGROUND: Thermal stratification in reservoirs is a significant factor affecting water quality, and can be strongly influenced by climate change and operational strategies. Reservoirs in the temperate zone react most sensitively to climate warming during winter as ice cover and inversed stratification are about to disappear in a warmer world. In this study, two well-established hydrodynamic models, the one-dimensional General Lake Model (GLM) and the two-dimensional CE-QUAL-W2 (W2), were used to investigate the response of winter inversed stratification in the Rappbode Reservoir to future climate warming, combined with different water withdrawal elevations. RESULTS: Under increased air temperature, the duration of inversed stratification is reduced and the inversion phenomenon will entirely disappear under current management if the air temperature is increased high enough (more than 4.5 K) in the future. Under strong climate warming, the Rappbode Reservoir will therefore change from a dimictic to a monomictic mixing type. Changing the reservoir management from deep withdrawal (e.g., below 350 m a.s.l.) to shallow withdrawal elevations (e.g., above 390 m a.s.l.) reduces internal heat energy stored in the reservoir in summer and prolongs the inversed stratification period in winter. This strategy can retain the dimictic behavior even under strong warming. CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that adjusting the withdrawal elevation is an effective management instrument to control the winter conditions and can, in fact, mitigate climate warming effects on winter hydrodynamics by stabilizing the dimictic mixing type.