Global climate change is predicted as a result of increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. It is predicted that climate change will result in increasing temperature by 2 to 6°C and a possible reduction of precipitation of up to 16% in the Mediterranean basin. In this study, the West Bank is taken as a case study from the Mediterranean basin to evaluate the effects of such climate change on water resources availability and agricultural water demands. Due to the uncertainty in climate change impacts on temperature and precipitation, a number of scenarios for these impacts were assumed within the range of predicted changes. For temperature, three scenarios of 2, 4 and 6°C increase were assumed. For precipitation, two scenarios of no change and 16% precipitation reduction were assumed. Based on these scenarios, monthly evapotranspiration and monthly precipitation excess depths were estimated at seven weather stations distributed over the different climatic and geographical areas of the West Bank. GIS spatial analyses showed that the increase in temperature predicted by climate change could potentially increase agricultural water demands by up to 17% and could also result in reducing annual groundwater recharge by up to 21% of existing values. However, the effects of reduced precipitation resulting from climate change are more enormous as a 16% reduction in precipitation could result in reducing annual groundwater recharge in the West Bank by about 30% of existing value. When this effect is combined with a 6°C increase in temperature, the reduction in groundwater recharge could reach 50%.
Water Resources Management, Springer Netherlands. DOI: 10.1007/s11269-008-9367-0. Published online: 31 October 2008