According to current climate projections, Mediterranean countries are at high risk for an even pronounced susceptibility to changes in the hydrological budget and extremes.
These changes are expected to have severe direct impacts on the management of water resources, agricultural productivity and drinking water supply. The different regions of the Mediterranean landscape are already experiencing and expecting a broad range of natural and man-made threats to water security.
Threats include severe droughts and extreme flooding, salinization of coastal aquifers, degradation of fertile soils and desertification due to poor and unsustainable management practices. It can be foreseen that, unless appropriate adaptation measures are undertaken, the changes in the hydrologic cycle will give rise to an increasing potential for tensions and conflict among the political and economic actors in this vulnerable region.
There are a number of major obstacles to implementation of adaptation measures designed to achieve sustainable management of water resources.
Effective adaptation measures need to be prepared in a multi-disciplinary approach. While there is scientific consensus that climate induced changes on the hydrology of Mediterranean regions are presently occurring and are projected to amplify in the future, very little knowledge is available about the quantification of these changes, which is hampered by a lack of suitable and cost effective hydrological monitoring and modeling systems.
Current projections of future hydrological change, based on regional climate model results and subsequent hydrological modeling schemes, are very uncertain and poorly validated.
The conditions required to develop and implement appropriate adaptation strategies are lacking. To the extent that adaptation initiatives are being proposed and adopted, they are primarily by perceptions of individual stakeholders and are rarely based on a multi-disciplinary assessment covering both natural and associated social and economic changes.