The Andes Basin Focal Project


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The Andes Basin Focal Project

  1. 1. A system of basins located along the Andes from the very south to the northeast of South America with large bio-physical contrasts and characterized by rapid political and economic changes with extremes in wealth and poverty. Water use and governance, particularly within the agricultural sector have been identified as a significant factor influencing poverty, food security, and welfare. 3 basins- Fuquene in South Western Colombia, Jequetepeque in Northern Peru and Ambato in Central Ecuador have been selected to investigate agricultural water productivity, water availability and analysis of water governance institutions. It is anticipated that a basin-wide analysis of the status of agricultural water use within the Andean region will eventually provide opportunities for poverty alleviation by presenting planning and development agencies with relevant knowledge and recommendations to facilitate specific improvements in water use when formulating programs and undertaking their implementation. Finding solutions to end water poverty The Andes BFP understands the relationships between water, agriculture and poverty using spatial analysis and modeling tools. Primarily Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) is used to cross analyze poverty data with other water related variables. Patterns of poverty distribution are investigated in upper stream areas draining to Dams and cities. Poverty models for the watersheds have also been constructed with the support and collaboration with local stakeholders using statistical analysis alongside a Bayesian Network framework. Studies to date show a correlation between poverty and factors like access to water resources, water distribution, pollution, and irrigation infrastructure. For rural households possible poverty exit pathways are: Irrigation as found in the Jequetepeque basin in Peru; the development of dairy operations, high value crops (flowers, coffee, etc.), rural non-farm income and rural non-farm employment. Analysis of indirect poverty-water relationships: The increase of local participation Promoting sound water governance Within the Andes water use is managed by government in water resource governance could prove an effective intervention as rural families organizations at national and sub-national levels, and participating in farmer organizations or cooperatives may be less likely to suffer organized by sectors e.g. agriculture, urban development, poverty. One example is the possible collective negotiation of water access for electricity and energy. Large amounts of legislations irrigation concerning water are continuously generated which address the needs of the different sectors. These policies often lead to confusion and conflict among different interests regarding Improving water resource access and levels of productivity roles, responsibilities and ultimately rights to water use and access, an issue of particular significance at the micro Close to 80% of total water use in the Andean countries is consumed by watershed level where interventions to increase agricultural agriculture with the exception of Colombia, which uses more water for domestic productivity and reduce poverty such as Payment for purposes. Water used per capita is higher in Ecuador than in any of the other Environmental Services schemes are best implemented. countries. A potable water supply is not universal in the Andes, half of rural The establishment of better information flows between upper populations or more lacks access to a potable water supply. and lower basin authorities has been identified as a key In watersheds, upstream-downstream interactions play a large role in the strategic intervention that would improve water quality and distribution and access to water, creating competing uses and conflicts. In levels of access as well as increasing the participation of Fuquene, the growth of the dairy industry in watershed has come at the expense local communities in water governance management. of water quality in the downstream reservoir, a problem affecting both rural and urban residents. In the Jequetepeque basin, downstream irrigation depends on water services supplied by the upper basin but residents of the upper basin receive no compensation for land use that supports water resources. This situation suggests an opportunity to establish payment for environmental services schemes considered important for poverty alleviation because poverty is higher in upper parts of the basins compared to the lower sections. The Andes BFP has approached the complex problem of water access and productivity by creating an online Policy Support System aimed at policy makers, NGOs, students and scientists. This online system combines geo-browsers, remote sensing, and regional data sets for watersheds within the Andean region. The simulation of models allow to consider policy options Example screen from the Policy Support System related to water access and productivity and the role of interventions and institutions in affecting them.