Multidisciplinary marine science effort to secure future sustainable water resources on Gotland

The Formas Scientific Council has awarded SEK 14.5 million to Inga Monika Koszalka, to lead a multidisciplinary project on forecasts of algae blooms, and their impact on water resources on Gotland.

Photo: European Space Agency(Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

Water resource management on the island of Gotland is a challenge, as a result of particularly difficult hydrogeological conditions and limited capacity in groundwater reservoirs in combination with increased demand during the warm season when Gotland hosts large numbers of tourists.

Desalination of drinking water from the Baltic Sea is a promising alternative, and two treatment plants have been built to complement the municipal water supply. However, their operation is disturbed by intense algae blooms that coincide with summer heatwaves and the increased water demand, a multi-hazard situation that is expected to become even more common under climate change. Other regions in Sweden have similar issues, and would also benefit from a better understanding of the conditions on Gotland.

In a four-year project to inform sustainable management of water resources on Gotland, Inga Monika Koszalka, associate professor at the Department of Meteorology, will lead a collaboration between Stockholm University, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) and Region Gotland.

The aim of the project is to develop a novel forecast framework for intense algae blooms due to heatwaves as well as their impact on water resources, with a focus on the negative effects on desalination plants. The forecast framework will span both short-term early warning systems and long-term climate scenarios. New Lagrangian modelling tools and improved biogeochemical models will be developed at Stockholm University and embedded in existing operational services for weather and ocean state at SMHI. Region Gotland will provide input on adverse impacts, information required for management, and feedback on the results from the forecast framework during the project.

Read more about the project:

Formas project 2022-02117: "A new forecast framework for algae bloom hazard to secure future water supply and development of tourism on Gotland"

Formas call 2022-03-17: "Securing future water supply through sustainable management"

Baltic Sea Centre news: "Successful investment in ocean research network"