Climate change has negatively impacted water resources and ecosystems in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. In Peru and Colombia, rising temperatures and extreme hydrologic events such as prolonged drought and heavy flooding put livelihoods in downstream communities at risk. Many economically important sectors—especially water-reliant agricultural industries such as pima cotton, alpaca textiles and crops in Peru, as well as coffee in Colombia—are based in regions that depend on water supplied by glaciers and páramos (moorlands) that are rapidly receding due to climate change. According to global models captured by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, these problems will only grow, with many more civilians exposed to floods and droughts that threaten their economic well-being and their lives.
PARA-Agua’s overall approach combined traditional capacity building activities in target watersheds with a dynamic exchange between policy and action. PARA-Agua built linkages and improved collaboration between researchers and decision-makers to enable the mainstreaming of hydrological, climate, and socio-economic data into watershed management and planning in the target watersheds of Peru and Colombia. Key elements of our approach included:
PARA-Agua had three main project goals: