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The water supply to Longyearbyen: understanding the present system and future uncertainties

Longyearbyen is a growing Arctic community whose water supply is directly dependent upon a sensitive and to a large degree, climatically controlled resource: glacial and snow meltwater.


A monitoring program in the Isdammen watershed is therefore important for future water supply planning due to the pressures imposed by a growing, population, climate change and the influences of coal mining and glacial sediment transfer upon water quality.


Establishing the best practice for managing water supply to Longyearbyen is a multidisciplinary problem that requires interaction among engineering, glaciological, geomorphological and hydrological expertise.


Such a program was funded by Longyearbyen Bydrift (the institution responsible for the water supply to Longyearbyen) and undertaken for the first time in Gruvedalen and Endalen between May 2012 and April 2013. The measurements continue in their amended form and the responsibility of monitoring is partially taken up by UNIS courses AG340 and BSc AG221.

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