The key objective of REFRESH is to develop a framework that will enable water managers to design cost-effective restoration programmes for freshwater ecosystems. This will account for the expected future impacts of climate change and land-use. REFRESH will evaluate a series of specific adaptive measures that might be taken to minimise adverse consequences of climate change on freshwater quantity, quality and biodiversity. The focus is on three principal climate-related and interacting pressures; i) increasing temperature; ii) changes in water levels and flow regimes; and ii) excess nutrients.
The Project has the following specific objectives;
- to generate scenarios for future climate, land-use/land management, nutrient loading and water resource demand relevant to the future management of freshwater ecosystems;
- to review and assess measures that can be taken to mitigate the effects of temperature, changing hydrology (and salinity) and increased nutrient and organic matter loading expected under different future scenarios;
- to understand the processes that govern the relationship between temperature, hydrology (and salinity) and nutrient/organic matter loading and the structure, function and biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems;
- to develop methods for identifying thresholds and reference conditions for systems facing climate change;
- to develop new indicator systems and vulnerability assessment methods for systems facing climate change;
- to develop and demonstrate effective methodologies to assess the cost-effectiveness of alternative adaptation/mitigation strategies in freshwaters;
- to develop and improve the performance of integrated catchment models for simulating the ecological response of freshwater ecosystems to climate, land-use/management and pollution change;
- to use the models to explore the ecological and cost-effectiveness of alternative adaptation, mitigation and restoration strategies at the catchment scale to ensure long-term sustainable management; and
- to engage with stakeholders to develop scenarios and storylines and explore barriers to the implementation of adaptation and mitigation strategies at national and catchment scales.