ECONS - WGL PAKT Initiative - Evolving Complex Networks
Regional resource management under environmental and demographic change

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Regional Environmental Change (2011) DOI:10.1007/s10113-011-0237-6

Downscaling Nonclimatic Drivers for Surface Water Vulnerabilities in the Elbe River Basin

J. Blazejczak, M. Gornig, V. Hartje

Aggregated consideration of both climate and socio-economic change in a coarse spatial resolution is a central feature for scenario development in global change research. Downscaling of the supposed aggregated changes is a necessary prerequisite for the assessments of global change at the regional scale. The present paper describes the method and results of an approach to develop and to apply scenarios of socio-economic change at a sub-national level, which are consistent with global change scenarios. National and regional models of economic and demographic development are used to regionalise drivers of socio-economic change. Scenario results are subsequently applied in order to analyse the impacts of socio-economic and climatic changes on water management issues in the Elbe river basin. Starting from global IPCC-Emissions Scenarios and taking up their key points, we formulate two scenarios for the German and Czech parts of the Elbe catchment areas. We present a system of demographic and economic models, designed to consistently project socio-economic developments at a national and sub-national level and, thus, to quantitatively illustrate our scenarios. The results show that in a scenario that assumes continued globalisation and emphasis on economic growth, export orientation will result in a comparatively high share of manufacturing. Growth spreads from centres to peripheral regions. Still, at the national level, the increase in population and employment will be modest and create little additional pressure, but water stress will be considerably stronger on a regional basis, namely in metropolitan areas such as Prague, Berlin and Hamburg. In a scenario where economic goals are balanced with ecologic and social ones, growth is weaker and the weight of the service sector increases more rapidly, thus easing the driving forces for overall water demand and pollution. However, as in this scenario regional metropolitan centres develop at the cost of peripheral regions, regional development is more selective and the driving forces for potential water stress will diverge spatially.