DOMQUA - Drinking water treatment adaptation to increasing levels of DOM and changing DOM quality 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. This poses a major challenge to drinking water providers, as removal of DOM is a key step in drinking water treatment.

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. 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.

 

Langtjern catchment

About the project

This is a Project led by the Norwegian Institute of water research (NIVA) where the participation by the Environmental Chemistry Group is mainly related to WP2, especially WP2.3.

 

Objectives

The specific objective of the Project is to assess adaptation of drinking water facilities in the Nordic countries to future Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) and colour in raw water sources under climate change.

 

Outcomes

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.

Background

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.

Sub-projects

  • WP1 Climatic drivers of past and future DOM
  • WP2 DOM quality, characterization, reactivity and treatability
    • Reactivity and quality of drinking water
    • Reactivity of DOM in raw water and implications for treatability
    • Short-term climatic variation in DOM quantity and quality in raw water
      • Precipitation and discharge are important seasonal and short-term climatic controls of DOM quantity and quality. Monitoring effects of short-term events is particularly important for WTPs during the circulation period, when high loadings of DOM will reach the deeper water at which the raw water inlets are located. In general, large lakes and drinking water reservoirs respond more slowly to climatic variability than smaller lakes. DOM input to drinking water reservoirs is an integrated product of upstream (catchment and lake) processes. The extent of short-term climate variation on DOM quantity and quality and its importance for drinking water quality is poorly understood. Here, we will study short-term climatic variation in DOM quality using on-line high frequency optical measurements, and develop simple spectral indicators that can be used as measures or proxies of bioavailability and other relevant DOM qualities related to drinking water problems.
  • WP3 Adaptation to climate change

 

Tags: DOM, Climate change, Water works
Published Aug. 5, 2014 9:45 AM - Last modified Feb. 22, 2016 1:06 PM