Grantham Scholar Mustafa Onur Onen’s project will integrate water quality modelling into advanced decision-making frameworks for water resource planning.
Recent heatwaves have illustrated the risk hotter summers pose to water reservoirs strategic to our water supply, with algal blooms receiving national media coverage. Algal blooms make water treatment difficult or even impossible. They are more likely to appear in warm and shallow waters, generally the double result of hot weather and drought-related pressures on supply. This means that reservoirs’ water may not be accessible when it is most needed: during hot, dry summers.
Climate change is expected to increase the severity and frequency of both summer heatwaves and droughts, leading to either algal blooms or operational strategies to preserve water depth. Either way, large but yet unquantified quantities of water cannot be used for consumption. This knowledge gap has crucial implications for drought-resilient planning.
To address this gap, this project aims to integrate water quality modelling into advanced decision-making frameworks for water resource planning. It will quantify climate risk to reservoir water quality in a context of uncertainty in future water demands and environmental regulation. It will also propose operational strategies to minimise this risk. Results may inform water planning and investment decisions, enhancing long-term drought resilience.