The hydrology of coastal catchments is influenced by both sea level and climate. Hence, a comprehensive assessment of the impact of climate change on coastal catchments is a challenging task. In the present study, a coupled groundwater-surface water model is forced by dynamically downscaled results from a general circulation model. The effects on water quantity and quality of a relatively large lake used for water supply are analyzed. Although stream inflow to the lake is predicted to decrease during summer, the storage capacity of the lake is found to provide a sufficient buffer to support sustainable water abstraction in the future. On the other hand, seawater intrusion into the stream is found to be a significant threat to the water quality of the lake, possibly limiting its use for water supply and impacting the aquatic environment. Additionally, the results indicate that the nutrient load to the lake and adjacent coastal waters is likely to increase significantly, which will increase eutrophication and have negative effects on the surface water ecology. The hydrological impact assessment is based on only one climate change projection; nevertheless, the range of changes generated by other climate models indicates that the predicted results are a plausible realization of climate change impacts. The problems identified here are expected to be relevant for many coastal regimes, where the hydrology is determined by the interaction between saline and fresh groundwater and surface water systems.
- Programme Area 2: Water Resources