Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Stathatou P-M., Kampragou E., Grigoropoulou H., Assimacopoulos D., Karavitis C., Porto M.F.A., Gironás J., Vanegas M. and Reyna S. (2016)

Vulnerability of water systems: a comprehensive framework for its assessment and identification of adaptation strategies

Revista : Desalination and Water Treatment
Volumen : 57
Número : 5
Páginas : 2243-2255
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Most climate projections predict that average surface temperature and precipitation variability will increase at the global scale, triggering hydrological variations and alterations in river flows and groundwater table levels. Climate change impacts on freshwater resourcesare likely to affect freshwater availability and quality and by extension, the ability of water systems to support natural processes and ensure population needs. As a result, the vulnerability of water systems to adverse conditions (e.g. water shortages, overexploitation, and quality deterioration) is intensified; hence, methods and tools for vulnerability assessment and identification of adaptation measures are necessary. This paper proposes a comprehensiveframework for the assessment of water systems’ vulnerability to adverse water related conditions and the identification of potential adaptation strategies. The proposed methodology is applied in the four study site areas of the FP7 COROADO project (selected river basins in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico), and an indicator-based framework is adopted, expressing natural, physical, socio-economic, and institutional attributes of the examined areas. The vulnerability assessment was conducted following a disaggregated analysis (use of proxy indicators). The vulnerability profiles of the four study sites were formulated,describing the factors shaping vulnerability and the aspects that need improvement. Additionally, the anticipated contribution of alternative strategies to vulnerability mitigation was assessed. The systems’ response to alternative strategies (what-if scenarios) was analyzed following an aggregated analysis (estimation of an overall vulnerabilityindex).