17 - 19 January 2011, Oulu, Finland
The international symposium brought scientists and experts from all over Europe to the University of Oulu to discuss the challenges caused by climate change for our use of water systems, water protection, and how the European Union is to take up these challenges.
As a keynote speaker Dr Peter Kristensen from the European Environment Agency reminds, Europe has experienced at least 175 significant flood events during the last decade. These have led to loss of life, massive evacuation operations, and significant financial harm. In addition, drought and water shortages have caused further problems. Climate change will exacerbate extreme weather events, decrease water quality, and complicate the lives of many species.
During the two symposium days, presentations heard handled climate change challenges and adaptation from a variety of perspectives, including observed climate trends and effects on surface and ground waters, scenario studies as well as socio-economic aspects and participatory tools related to water management planning.
In his concluding remarks, Professor Seppo Rekolainen from the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE pointed out that even though climate change will greatly affect water quality and availability, policy actions crucially determine our future water resources and water services both for humans and ecosystems.
The symposium was organised by Finnish Environment Institute SYKE and the Thule Institute of the University of Oulu, as a collaborative effort of seven projects funded by the EU, the Academy of Finland, and some Finnish ministries. These projects focus on developing new assessment methods and tools for the planning of river basin management in a changing climate, as well as on studying the effects of climate change on groundwater, natural ecosystems, and people living in northern regions.
After the symposium days, the WATERPRAXIS project partners continued with the second steering group meeting on 20th January. The meeting day included an excursion to the Finnish pilot area Temmesjoki and a historical sawmill area Varjakka in Oulunsalo municipality.
All presentations can be found here.