Water security

Lead Organization:

The Mountain Institute

Community of Practice:

Andes

Countries:

Peru

Duration:

8/2009—8/2011

Overview:

The vision of The Mountain Institute (TMI) is of a world where the future of the mountains is in the hands of their people, and mountain people prosper in ecologically healthy environments. TMI’s mission is to be a learning organization that devotes itself to supporting the leadership and capacity of rural communities as stewards of their landscapes and cultural heritage through projects that integrate conservation, sustainable livelihoods and culture. This is implemented in the context of climate change and other transformations of global historical significance that affect the mountain people. TMI was founded over 35 years ago and has programs in the Himalaya, Appalachia and Andes mountains. The South American TMI program (known as Instituto de Montaña) has 13 years of operation in the Andes. In Peru, TMI is organized around 5 themes: ecosystem management, sustainable livelihoods, education for conservation, research and analysis; and methodologies and systems for institutional learning.Agriculture in the Cordillera Blanca is heavily dependent on an extensive network of irrigation canals located between 2,000 and 4,000 m.a.s.l. that relies on water from glaciers. Unfortunately, Andean communities are seeking to expand irrigation while glaciers are retreating due to global warming. The loss of glacial water in the Cordillera Blanca will negatively affect water availability in the highland areas but also in the coastal valleys where close to 135,000 hectares are currently irrigated with water from that watershed. The puna ecosystem acts as a gigantic sponge that holds water and releases it slowly. The gradual encroachment and destruction of the puna ecosystem represents a major threat to the viability of agriculture and food security in that vast area.

Grant Aims:

Gather information on locally developed biological and physical climatic indicators.Assess the efficacy of forecasts based on the local indicators, as well as their importance on agricultural decision-making.Identify and validate technologies appropriate to respond to climate variability in the region.Develop a prototype of early warning system and decision making support system for planning of agricultural production, which could have applications elsewhere in the highlands through use of the methodologies.Systematize and diffuse the information.