Effects of climate change on the groundwater system in the Grote-Nete catchment, Belgium

  • Woldeamlak S
  • Batelaan O
  • De Smedt F
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Abstract

The effects of climate change on the ground- water systems in the Grote-Nete catchment, Belgium, covering an area of 525 km2, is modeled using wet (greenhouse), cold or NATCC (North Atlantic Thermoha- line Circulation Change) and dry climate scenarios. Low, central and high estimates of temperature changes are adopted for wet scenarios. Seasonal and annual water balance components including groundwater recharge are simulated using the WetSpass model, while mean annual groundwater elevations and discharge are simulated with a steady-state MODFLOW groundwater model. WetSpass results for the wet scenarios show that wet winters and drier summers are expected relative to the present situation. MODFLOW results for wet high scenario show groundwater levels increase by as much as 79 cm, which could affect the distribution and species richness of meadows. Results obtained for cold scenarios depict drier winters and wetter summers relative to the present. The dry scenarios predict dry conditions for the whole year. There is no recharge during the summer, which is mainly attributed to high evapotranspiration rates by forests and low precipitation. Average annual groundwater levels drop by 0.5 m, with maximum of 3.1 m on the eastern part of the Campine Plateau. This could endanger aquatic ecosystem, shrubs, and crop production.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Belgium
  • Climate change
  • Geographic information systems
  • Groundwater recharge/water budget
  • Groundwater systems

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