Climate change induced salinisation of artificial lakes in the Netherlands and consequences for drinking water production
In this paper we present a modelling study to investigate the impacts of climate change on the chloride concentration and salinisation processes in two man-made freshwater lakes in the Netherlands, Lake IJsselmeer and Lake Markermeer. We used a transient compartmental chloride and water balance model to elucidate the salinisation processes occurring under present conditions and assess future salinisation under two climate forcing scenarios. The model results showed that the Rhine River is the dominant determinant for the chloride concentration in both lakes, followed by drainage of brackish groundwater from the surrounding polders. The results further show that especially during dry years, seawater intrusion through the tidal closure dam is an important source of chloride to Lake IJsselmeer. The results from the climatic forcing scenarios show that Lake IJsselmeer is especially vulnerable to climate-induced salinisation whereas effects on Lake Markermeer are relatively small. Peak chloride concentrations at the raw water intake of the Andijk drinking water facility on Lake IJsselmeer are projected to increase to values above 250 mg/l in the most far-reaching climate change scenario W+ in 2050 for dry years. This is well above the maximum allowable concentration of 150 mg/l for chloride in drinking water. Modelling showed that climate change impacts the chloride concentrations in a variety of ways: 1) an increasing occurrence of low river flows from summer to autumn reduces the dilution of the chloride that is emitted to the Rhine with a constant load thereby increasing its concentration; 2) increased open water evaporation and reduced rainfall during summer periods and droughts increases the chloride concentration in the water; and 3) rises in sea level increase seawater intrusion through the tidal closure dam of Lake IJsselmeer. The processes described here are likely to affect many other tidal rivers or lakes and should be considered when planning future raw water intake stations for drinking water production or agricultural water supply.