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This project explores how climate change and other long-term environmental changes can influence the transport, uptake and food web transfer of mercury in boreal lakes.
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.