Abstract for: On the combined effects of socio-hydrology and climate change on water resources management – a case study

Water scarcity is a growing challenge around the world and ensuring a robust and sustainable supply of drinking water is becoming increasingly difficult due to the combined effects of climate change and the unpredictable dynamics arising from poorly understood socio-hydrological interactions. We here present preliminary findings from an on-going case study where we explore how the socio-hydrological interactions on a Swedish island have contributed to escalating water use, seasonal water scarcity, and growing reliance on inter-basin water transports in the last 20 years. We present a simulation model capable of explaining why historic policies to decrease water use have been ineffective, and we briefly compare and discuss the simulation results against available data. We apply the model to explore how the water supply on the island is likely to respond to future climate scenarios, and to evaluate the effectiveness of four public policy strategies to increase water self-sufficiency in the coming 30 years. From our preliminary findings we conclude that neither of the proposed policies will eliminate the need for water transports in the long term unless applied in combination with demand-regulating interventions. We conclude the paper by presenting our plans for further calibration and sensitivity analysis of the model, and to expand the mix of polices and climate scenarios to be addressed in future research.