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On the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, we want to get close to the metropolitan area of Lima and Callao. Here, the competent authorities are acting to tackle the shortage of water that affects to a large part of its population. This problem, although it is being worsen by the effects of climate change, has its origin in past poor water and urban planning.
Water shortage: challenges in the metropolitan area of Lima and Callao
The divorce between territorial planning and water management affects directly to all metropolitan area, although it does it in very different ways depending on the formality or informality of the hoods. In informal neighborhoods, more than a million people rely on tanker trucks as their only option for their water supply. In formal neighborhoods, the final price of houses becomes more expensive because it is the real estate developers who make the necessary investment for the construction of the water and sanitation networks. This happens both in expansion areas and in consolidated communities and has the added consequence of limiting the building of affordable housing.
Climate change is behind the increase in periods of drought, which cause a decrease in the average flows of the three rivers that supply Lima and Callao. During these periods, serious supply shortages can take place. This phenomenon highlights the urgency with which the relationship between urban planning and water resource management needs to be rethought and strengthened by betting on a more sustainable and resilient city and community. Currently Lima and Callao have only 125m3 of water per inhabitant and year, or what is the same, eight times less than recommended. A shortage exists when the availability of fresh water per capita is below 1,000m3. As the image below shows, a considerable reduction is expected in 10 to 15 years, which will result in a crisis of water shortages in the city.
From the tanker truck to contemporary water management:
Thanks to various projects financed by the IDB, work is being done to modernize water management in the metropolitan area of Lima and Callao. These projects aim to know the state of the hydrological ecosystems and the pressure exerted on them by the consumption of the metropolitan area of Lima and Callao. The objective of these projects is to manage resources in such a way as to ensure the supply of the entire metropolitan area through innovations in urban planning and water governance.
One of these projects that are active today is the “Support for the National Platform for Sustainable Cities and Climate Change in Lima“, financed by the Global Environment Fund, which brings together the efforts of the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM), World Wildlife Fund and the IDB. Along the same lines, the ‘Comprehensive study of all the water basins that supply the Metropolitan Area of Lima (AML) and Callao and the coastal aquifer’, which is based on the models of the IDB HydroBID Support Center (CeSH): HydroBID and WaterALLOC, proposes great innovations to water management research.
Thanks to the latest program, water and sanitation service companies in Peru are using, for the first time, applied technology for planning and managing water resources. Likewise, trough algorithms, hydrological models are being integrated to perform precipitation forecasts and reservoir optimization, in order to estimate future demand and supply of water.
The innovation of this procedure lies in incorporating, within a modeling system, all the variables necessary for urban planning:
- water availability
- climate change scenarios
- population growth
- changes in land use
In this way, management scenarios can be predicted and evaluated, providing dynamism and effectiveness to water planning processes.
The development of this innovative system has made it possible that the three key actors for the management of information on water resources in Peru (SEDAPAL, ANA and SENAMHI) reach agreements and coordinate efforts aimed at the integration of data and the joint management of information in the Metropolitan area. The Potable Water and Sewerage Service of Lima (SEDAPAL), the National Water Authority (ANA) and the National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology of Peru (SENAMHI) are the public companies that monitor and / or manage the water supply of Lima and Callao from its basins and aquifers.
Institutional commitment: learning and working together for Lima and Callao
The ‘Comprehensive study of all the water basins that supply the Metropolitan Area of Lima (AML) and Callao and the coastal aquifer’ has favored the transfer of technology and knowledge to key actors in Peru through training. This training is being carried out in parallel with the design and construction of modern hydrological models.
This is a process promoted by the CeSH that has already been implemented in 19 countries in the region. For the metropolitan area of Lima and Callao, there are more than 40 officials from MINAM, SEDAPAL, ANA and SENAMHI who have participated continuously in training workshops under the guidance of the Research Triangle Institute (RTI; consulting firm in charge of the study) motivated in part by the acquisition of knowledge offered by this experience. This group work exercise is aimed not only to generate cohesion between institutions that often have difficulties to converge technically, but also to create a space to share data and information for the implementation of the model.
In January 2021, and with the objective to to consolidate these results, the event “Towards a multisectoral and sustainable water management for Lima and Callao” was held with the participation of the highest authorities of MINAM, SENAMHI, ANA and SEDAPAL. This event concluded with the signing of an “Act of institutional commitment for the strengthening of water management in Metropolitan Lima and Callao”.
This Act has committed the institutions to sign an agreement before July 2021, which ensures the flow of data to the model, and the opening of the Decision Support System (SSD) by SEDAPAL. This new system will have the ability to analyze the processes related to water resources in the territory and to model future scenarios based on both hydrometeorological and hydraulic variables, following the technical guidelines and protocols established by the National Meteorology and Hydrology Service (SENAMHI) and / or ANA regulations, as appropriate, such as those related to land use, vegetation cover, infrastructure, demographic, economic, productive and environmental trends.
This process – still underway – of the Sustainable Cities project, has established a technological base that is already installed in the operation and management capacities of the relevant institutions. This is possible thanks to the training component of the project, which guarantees its sustainability and the impact on its implementation for better urban planning and management of the city.
|“From MINAM we are pleased to contribute, thanks to the GEF Sustainable Cities project. The implementation of the HydroBID model, in a collaborative process with SEDAPAL, ANA and SENAMHI allows us to face the consequences of climate change in the city with a better perspective of success of Lima and Callao, regarding water. MINAM, in an articulating role, will promote the replication of this example in other cities. “|
|Gabriel Quijandría, Minister of the Environment (May 2021)|
To face the future challenges that climate change poses, this model sets a replicable precedent at the national level in Peru that can achieve better decision-making in the management of water resources in our territories.