Settlements, infrastructure, land use and road connections in the Grimsel area in southern Switzerland are heavily exposed to risks from hydrological and gravitational natural hazard processes, such as rock fall, mudflows, landslides, avalanches, and floods favoured by sedimentation of debris. Permafrost thawing, glacier retreat, and more frequent heavy rainfall events due to climate change are expected to further decrease slope stability and increase likelihood of mass movements.
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The densely populated River Lavant valley region in the eastern part of Carinthia in the southern Austrian Alps is characterised by a low level of precipitation, geological conditions unfavourable to groundwater storage and a limited number of springs that can be used for water supply. In the past decades, annual precipitation amounts have declined significantly, and the region has been affected by water shortages during hot summers several times.
Evidence that increasing temperatures leads to increased mortality and morbidity is well documented, with population vulnerability being location specific. Especially the 2003 heat wave in Europe raised the awareness of negative impacts of heat stress on human health in Austria. Increased incidence of heat waves leads to an increase in heat stress, especially in urban areas; the intensification of the heat-island effect is to be expected.
The Vistula River is a 1,046 km long river which springs in southern Poland and ends in the Baltic Sea. The Upper Vistula extends over the three Polish provinces of Małopolskie, Podkarpackie and Swietokrzyskie. The Upper Vistula region covers an area of 43,000 km2, including the cities of Krakow, Tarnow, Kielce, Nowy Sacz, Rzeszow, Przemysl and Krosno. The area is also known for its extraordinary natural values. The region is prone to flood risk both in winter and in summer.
“Allgäuer Moorallianz” is an initiative which was founded in 2007 aiming to foster moor protection in the Allgäu region. The Allgäu region belongs to the Bavarian Alpine foreland (Germany) and hosts one of the most important hotspots of high wetland with its diversity of moor types existing across the young moraine landscape and at different elevation levels. The conservation of these moor landscapes has a significant effect on reducing climate change impacts and maintain ecosystem services such as climate regulation.
The estuary of the Oka River is located within the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, on the coast of Biscay, Basque Country, north of Spain. It is an area of high ecological value. Its landscape has been transformed over the years by human activities, as it has been inhabited since Prehistoric times. The most important activities affecting the landscape of the estuary have been agriculture, cattle rising and a shipyard. While the first two have practically disappeared, the shipyard activity is still on-going, although with less intensity than in previous decades.
The increasing exposure to floods is a consequence of the river regulation and land reclamation works that shaped the landscape in the Tisza River floodplain. During the last 150 years an extensive flood defence and water management infrastructure has been constructed. Climate and land use change in the basin are increasing the frequency and magnitude of floods. The Hungarian Government has been pursuing a new flood defence strategy for the Tisza based on temporary reservoirs where peak flood-water can be released.
The Segura River Basin in the south east of Spain suffers from a structural condition of water scarcity and drought occurrence. For decades, the focus for dealing with this condition has been placed on instrumental objectives such as increasing water transfer facilities (i.e. Tagus Segura Water Transfer, a major diversion project), developing alternative sources (i.e. desalination and reuse) or making use of water in a more technically efficient way (i.e. irrigation modernization).
The Regge River is a typical rain fed river. Starting in the 19th century the first bends were cut and over the years the Regge River was largely turned into a canal. In situations with heavy rainfall, large areas in the valley of the river are flooded. In dry periods, on the contrary, agriculture and the wetlands suffer from the lack of water. Because of climate change, precipitation is projected to become more extreme; showers heavier and dry spells more prolonged. Measures directed at restoring the dynamics of the river must also help to adapt to these projected changes.