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Water Science & Technology Vol 56 No 4 pp 57–62 © IWA Publishing 2007 doi:10.2166/wst.2007.536

Vulnerability of Korean water resources to climate change and population growth

H. Chang*, J. Franczyk*, E.-S. Im**, W.-T. Kwon**, D.-H. Bae*** and I.-W. Jung***

*Department of Geography, Portland State University, 1721 SW Broadway, Portland, OR, 97201, USA (E-mail: changh@pdx.edu; franczyk@pdx.edu)
**Climate Research Laboratory, Korea Meteorological Administration, 460-18 Shindaebang-2dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, 156-720, Korea (E-mail: esim@metri.re.kr; wontk@metri.re.kr)
***Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Sejong University, #98 Kunja-dong, Kwangjin-Gu, Seoul, 143-747, Korea (E-mail: dhbae@sejong.ac.kr; bobilwon@paran.com)


ABSTRACT

Freshwater availability is affected by changes in climate and growth. We assessed the freshwater vulnerability for five major Korean river basins for 2015 and 2030. We used a regional climate model based on the IPCC SRES A2 scenario, US Geological Survey's Precipitation Rainfall Simulation Model, and population and industrial growth scenarios for impact assessment. The model simulation results suggest increasing spatial and temporal variations of water stress for the basins that are already developed. While freshwater is more vulnerable to growth scenarios than the climate change scenario, climate change alone could decrease mean annual runoff by 10% in four major river basins by 2030. As the first national assessment of climate change, we suggest possible adaptive water resource management and policy strategies for reducing climate related risks in Korea.

Keywords: Adaptation; climate change; growth; vulnerability; water resources


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