Impact of snowmaking on alpine water resources


Owing to less natural snow reliability as a result of climate change on the one hand, and the demand of higher standards by winter tourists on the other hand, the production of artificial snow in ski resorts has increased substantially during the last 20 years and is likely to increase further in future. Little research has been conducted on the impact of snowmaking as a water demand stakeholder on a regional water balance. In this paper, a regional water balance is analysed for the greater Kitzbueheler Region in the Austrian Alps, for the current situation and a future climate change scenario. For this temperature rise a significant reduction in natural snow cover duration and snow accumulation is predicted, an effect that increases with lower altitudes and differs between the winter months. Due to the shortening of the winter season, a change in seasonality of river flows and available water resources occurs. Both increase in winter, and decrease in spring.