Rethinking Donostia to transform it into a water resilience city in 2050

Inundaciones Martutene
How can we make the city more water resilient in 2050?

The Basque city of San Sebastián (Spanish), home to about 186,000 inhabitants, is the administrative capital of the province of Guipúzcoa and a major culture and tourist hub in Northern Spain. As a coastal city, San Sebastián and its people, are aware that they are on the frontline of climate change and therefore have to strengthen their resilience and take ambitious climate and energy action. In June 2018, the city has adopted its long-term roadmap “Plan de Acción Klima 2050 de Donostia / San Sebastián”, which reflects a clear commitment to tackle climate change, catalyse the clean energy transformation and maintain an urban environment that makes responsible use of our planet’s resources.

The rise in Mean Sea Level and the intensification of extreme wave events due to climate change can cause significant impacts throughout the 21st century, such as is contained in the 5th report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2014). According to the IPCC AR5 report (2013), sea levels could rise by between 26 and 82 centimetres at the end of the century, a higher range than that aimed for in 2007, when mentioned a rise of between 18 and 59 centimetres. Therefore, the regional projections of the estimated mean sea level rise for the Gulf of Biscay is between 29 and 49 cm for 2100 (Chust et al., 2010).

On the coast of Gipuzkoa that risk has been assessed with moderate scenarios (Liria et al. 2011), which have already pointed to the risk of flooding in urbanised coastal areas, erosion on sandy beaches and bars, saltwater intrusion into estuaries and groundwater, and loss of wetlands, among others of rising sea levels. Once these scenarios have been reviewed, it is expected that that the risks noted are greater.

How can Donostia-San Sebastaina and its water systems be more resilient?

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