Water resources management in Peru

Water resources management in Peru

"Source": INRENA

torage capacity and infrastructure

In 1980, INRENA established an inventory of Peru's water storage capacity, including lakes and dams. Peru has 12,201 lakes, 3,896 of which are located in the Pacific basin, 7,441 in the Atlantic basin, 841 in the Titicaca basin, and 23 in the closed basin of Huarmicocha. INRENA has inventoried 186 lakes in operation with a total capacity of 3,028.07 million cubic metres and 342 studied lakes with a total capacity 3,953.04 million cubic metres. Currently the largest number of lakes in operation are located in the Pacific basin, with 105 lakes and a total capacity of 1,378.58 million cubic metres, followed by the Atlantic basin with 76 lakes and a capacity of 1604.73 million cubic metres. The Pacific basin also has the largest number of studied lagoons, with a total of 204 lakes snf a total capacity of 616.62 million cubic metres, followed by the Atlantic basin with 133 lakes and a capacity of 3,006.42 cubic metres.

Peru also has 23 dams with a total capacity of 1,941.88 million cubic metres, and 238 studied dams with a total capacity of 44,028.04 million cubic metres. The Pacific basin has 21 dams in operation with a total capacity of 1,875.88 million cubic metres; the Atlantic basin has 2 dams with a capacity of 66,000 million cubic metres. The Pacific basin also has the largest number of studied dams, a total of 126 with a capacity of 17,200.60 million cubic metres. The Atlantic basin has 105 with an storage capacity of 26,274.83 million cubic metres.

The largest reservoirs are Poechos with a capacity of 1,000.00 cubic metres, Tinajones with 320.00 million cubic metres, San Lorenzo with 258.40 million cubic metres, and El Fraile with 200.00 million cubic metres, all of them in the coastal region ref_harv|lagunas|INRENA|INRENA.

Water quality

The gradual decrease in Peru's water quality is due to the release of untreated effluents from mining, industries, municipalities, and agriculture. Of the 53 rivers in the coastal area, 16 are partly polluted by lead, manganese and iron-mainly due to mining-threatening irrigation and the cost of potable water supplies ref_harv|wb|Olson|Olson. In particular, MINAG considers "alarming" the quality of the Moche, Santa, Mantaro, Chillon, Rimac, Tambo, and Chili Rivers ref_harv|estrategianacional|Comision|Comision. Moreover, the 18 mining facilities situated along the Mantaro River discharge untreated water into the main stream, threatening water supply for the country's largest hydroelectric facility.

Ineffective irrigation has generated salinization and drainage problems in 3,000 square kilometres of the coastal valleys (of a total irrigated area of 7,360 km²), jeopardizing these lands' productivity and the quality of Lima's urban water supply. Drainage problems are also affecting 1,500 km² in the Amazon region ref_harv|IFPRI|Ringler|Ringler.

In the highland and Amazon areas, excessive deforestation due to nomadic agriculture practices is causing erosion and soil degradation. In the Sierra 55-60% of the land is affected and is increasing the amount of soil transported downstreamref_harv|wb|Olson|Olson.

Water resources management by sector

Drinking water and sanitation

Domestic consumption accounts for 7% of water withdrawals in Peru. The water and sanitation sector in Peru has made significant advances in the last two decades, including the increase in water access from 30% to 62% between 1980 and 2004. Sanitation access in rural areas also increased from 9% to 30% from 1985 to 2004. [ WHO/UNICEF JMP [http://www.wssinfo.org/en/238_wat_latino.html Water] [http://www.wssinfo.org/pdf/country/PER_san.pdf Sanitation] ] Progress has also been achieved in the disinfection of drinking water and in sewage treatment.

Despite these advances, water supply and sanitation services in Peru are characterized by low coverage and poor quality of service, as well as the precarious financial situation of their providers. This, together with the lack of incentives to improve the sector's management, has reduced investment to a minimal level, which is affecting the sector's sustainability ref_harv|wb|Olson|Olson (see Water supply and sanitation in Peru).

Irrigation and drainage

About 80% of all water withdrawal in Peru is used for irrigation, yet much of this water (65%) is lost due to reliance on inefficient irrigation systems ref_harv|estrategianacional|Comision|Comision (see Irrigation in Peru).

Area with Irrigation Infrastructure and irrigated areas (km²)"Source": Portal Agrario (1994)


In 2006, 72% of Peru's total electricity generation (27.4 TWh) came from hydroelectric plants ref_harv|Electricity|MINEM|MINEM, with conventional thermal plants only in operation during peak load periods or when hydroelectric output is curtailed by weather events [http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Peru/Electricity.html EIA] ] . Hydropower accounts for 48% of total installed capacity. Non-consumptive water withdrawal for hydropower generation accounts for 11,138 million m3 per year. The largest hydroelectric facility in the country is the 900 MW Mantaro Complex in southern Peru, which is operated by state-owned Electroperu. The two hydroelectric plants at the complex generate over one-third of Peru’s total electricity supply (see Electricity sector in Peru).

Aquatic ecosystems

There are 12,201 lakes and lagoons in Peru, 3,896 of which are located in the Pacific basin; 7,441 in the Atlantic basin, 841 in the Titicaca basin, and 23 in the Huarmicocha system. Peru contains approximately 50,000 km² of swamps and 45 km² of mangroves.

Peru's wetlands play an important role for rural communities. These wetlands are the source for animal protein and for totora, a plant used in the artisan production of boats and floating devices. Estuaries are also fundamental for the reproduction of several marine species that are basic for the fishing industry. Other uses such as industrial production of algae and bird-watching tourism are not yet fully discovered.

In 1996 the Government implemented a National Wetlands Conservation Strategy aimed at increasing the amount of mangroves, moors, estuaries, and lagoons considered to be protected areas. Uncertainties about land ownership, industrial pollution, urban sprawl, and deforestation continue to threaten wetland integrity in Peru. The complete Pucchun Lagoon in Arequipa, 50 km², has been dried out for agricultural purposes. The Villa Swamp, located south of Lima, was reduced from its original 50 to 3 km² in 1989 due to urban sprawl.

Legal and institutional framework

Legal framework

General Water Law 17752 (Ley General de Aguas, 1969) sets out the legal and institutional framework for WRM. It presents significant obstacles to carrying out effective sustainable integrated resources management since it does not recognize the multisectoral nature of water, the river basin as the geographical unit for WRM not that water is an economic good. The LGA establishes the following: (i) the National Government holds sole ownership and managerial responsibility for water resources; (ii) the National Water Authority is the Ministry of Agriculture ( [http://www.minag.gob.pe/ Ministerio de Agricultura MINAG] ); authority is executed by the newly created Autoridad Nacional de Aguas; (iii) the Technical Administrator of the Irrigation Districts (ATDR) is the authority at Irrigation District level and the River Basin Authorities at the River Basin level; and (iv) the Health Ministry is responsible for water quality.

From 1993 to 2003, the Peruvian Government approved a number of sectoral laws regulating water use by different actors, such as the Law Promoting Investments in the Agricultural Sector (DL 653), the Law Promoting Investment in the Fisheries Sector (DL750), the General Hydrocarbon Law (DL 26221), the General Mining Law (DS 014-92-EM), the Law for Electric Concessions (DL 25844). and the General Tourism Law (Law No. 24027).

The 1997 Natural Resources Law 26821 establishes a continuum of the sectoral division of water management. This law also allows the transfer of water rights from one party to another, which is incompatible with the General Water Law, and presents significant obstacles to the establishment of water property rights and water markets ref_harv|wb|Olson|Olson.

In the last five years, there has been a profound change in Peru's institutional framework, with the approval of the Decentralization Law, Regional Government Law, and Municipalities Law. In 2003, with the official creation of Regional Governments, the National Government began transferring power to the departments.

A draft National Water Resources Management Initiative will recognize water's multisectoral nature and implement the appropriate institutional and legal framework to carry out integrated water resources management. This legislation is currently under review by the Agrarian Committee in the Peruvian Congress.

Institutional organization

The institutional framework for water resources management at national level is fragmented. The major agency responsible for water management at national level is the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG). In 2008, Peru’s Government created a National Water Authority, under MINAG, replacing the Intendancy of Water Resources, previously under INRENA. The National Water Authority (ANA) is responsible for the design and implementation of sustainable water resources policies and irrigation nationally ref_harv|news|Andina|Andina. It should be noted that ANA does not presently have representation at the local level.

Other Ministries have sectoral inputs on water resources management: Agriculture for irrigation, Housing and Sanitation for domestic water use, Health for water quality, Trade and Tourism for hot springs and mineral water, Energy and Mining for hydropower and mining operations, Council of Ministries for environmental policy and energy and water tariff and services regulation, and Defense for hydro-climate informationref_harv|estrategianacional|Comision|Comision.

Regional Governments are responsible for coordinating water use management in each of Peru's departments. However, this poses a challenge for IWRM at the river basin level, since the administrative boundaries of the region do not coincide with those of the river basins. An additional challenge if that the regions are young and lack fundamental technical capacity and human resources to undertake IWRM.

The Irrigation District Technical Administration (Administracion Tecnica de Distrito de Riego-ATDR) is the authority at irrigation district level in charge of managing water for irrigation, granting water rights, and distributing water among various water users. ATDR is also the water conflict resolution body where there is not River Basin Agency (Autoridad Autonoma de Cuenca Hidrografica – AACH)

Finally, other actor involved in WRM at the local level are: (i) four River Basin Agencies (Jequetepeque, Chira-Piura-Chancay-Lambayeque, and Chillon-Rimac-Turin and Santa), (ii) eight local offices of the Environmental Health General Department (Direccion General de Salud Ambiental – DIGESA), and (iii) Water User Boards (WUBs) are responsible for operation and maintenance (O&M) of minor irrigation infrastructure.

Government strategy

In 2004, the Peruvian Government proposed a National Water Resources Management Strategyref_harv|estrategianacional|Comision|Comision, which is currently being discussed and is pending approval. The main objectives are:
* Institutional renovation and a clear legal framework to include: (i) a resolution of current disparities between the Water Law and the Natural Resources Law, and transfer of irrigation system operation and maintenance to River Basin Authorities, promoting public participation in decision-making processes; and (ii) institutional development strategies that formalize water and pollution rights and establish a comprehensive tariff system to cover O&M activities.
* Integrated Management of Water Resources addressing both water supply and demand, taking into consideration environmental, social and economic factors. It includes a plan to modernize Peru's existing irrigation infrastructure with the goal of increasing the overall efficiency of irrigation systems from 35% to 45-50%.
* Increased Quality of Water Resources with a conservation initiative for upstream water resources aimed at decreasing sedimentation; it creates a pollution control authority to monitor agricultural and industrial discharges, promotes water recycling, and improves coastal drainage and salinity problems.
* Disaster Management and Mitigation including consistent weather monitoring, reforestation in strategic upstream areas, water channelling, and improved urban planning preventing settlements in high-risk areas.
* Capacity Building and Water Culture, and education program for preschool to college level students about the economic, social, and environmental value of water resources.
* Water Resources Information System strengthening of networks that monitor water quality and quantity; making accurate information publicly available. (See [http://pacificosur.rirh.net/ADVF/documentos/ENGRHaprobado120105.pdf National Water Resources Management Strategy] )

International agreements

The Amazon Cooperation Treaty, signed in 1978 by Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, aims at promoting sustainable use of natural resources, including water, in the Amazon Basin

On 25 June 2005, after the approval of a US$ 700,000 grant by the Global Environment Fund the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the United Nations Development Program agreed to sign the Integrated and Sustainable Management of Transboundary Water Resources in the Amazon River Basin Considering Climate Variability and Change Project. The project aims to strengthen the institutional framework for planning and executing, in a coordinated and coherent manner, activities for the protection and sustainable management of water resources in the Amazon Basin in the face of impacts caused by human action and ongoing climatic changes being experienced in the Basin.

Water pricing and collection rates

Agricultural and non agricultural surface water use fees are set annually by MINAG. There are no water use fees for groundwater.

Non agricultural water user fees are calculated annually in order to cover certain WRM functions following a methodology that is presently not reflected in the water charges regulation. There are three categories of water fees (minimum, medium, and maximum) depending on the relative water scarcity in each irrigation district. Water tariffs in Peru are somewhat low compared to other Latin American countries. Water bills are often not paid. (See water supply and sanitation in Peru)

In practice, WUBs set their own irrigation water tariff based on agreement with their governing body, and these rates are formely approved by the ATDR. Water is rarely metered and therefore fees are mostly based on area and crop types rather than on volume of water used. Tariffs fluctuate from US$2.2 per ha to US$25.55 per ha, and collection rates vary from 10% in the Amazon and 68% in the Costa regionPDFlink| [http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2007/06/07/000011823_20070607160338/Rendered/PDF/E11640v20EMP0corregido0120307.pdf Programa Subsectorial de Irrigacion] ] . Farmers contribute in cash through payment of the water tariff and in kind, through labor and materials, following ancestral practices. (See Irrigation in Peru)

Water related risks

The Peruvian piedmont and coastline are prone to devastating floods and mudslides, mainly due to heavy precipitation on degraded upper basins, whereas the southern part of the country is particularly prone to droughts. Aside from natural causes, such as El Niño Southern Oscillation, the effects of droughts and floods have been exacerbated by manmade interventions including soil erosion stemming from poor cropping and grazing practices, deforestation, and poor land use-practicesref_harv|wb|Olson|Olson.

El Niño hits Peru approximately once every seven years and consists of heavy winds and rainfall associated with devastating floods and landslides. In 1997-1998 the costs of damages reached US$2 billion. Droughts severely affect the southern coast, producing agricultural losses as well as limitations on human water consumption.

Preventive laws and measures (related to zoning, deforestation, and so forth) are not enforced and there is no reliable early warning system network. The consequence is increasing negative impacts from droughts and floods on the different regions, with an increasing impact on Peru's economyref_harv|wb|Olson|Olson.

Potential climate change effects

The effects of climate change in Peru can be seen in more extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods, El Niño Southern Oscillation, ref_harv|estrategianacional|Comision|Comision and the retreat of Andean glaciers. Climate change-related impacts in Peru include deterioration of watersheds and depletion of water recharge capacities, increased likelihood of flash fires, and biotic changes in ecosystem thresholds and composition, affecting their ability to store water. The effects and consequences may be different at the initial and final stages of glacier retreat and may differ depending on location (See [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0qDc4hXUSY Impacts of Glacier Retreat in the Andes:Documentary] ). High mountain ecosystems, including paramos (unique wetlands of the Northern Andes) and snowcapped terrains are among the environments most sensitive to climate change. These ecosystems have unique endemic flora and provide numerous valuable environmental goods and services. Although understanding of glacier retreat and its consequences has significantly increased, the consequences of climate change could have a negative impact on the functioning of páramosref_harv|World Bank|Vergara|Vergara. Data recently made available suggest that climate impacts have already altered the circulation patterns responsible for producing and moving water vapor to the region. These striking changes have likely contributed to the disappearance of high-altitude water bodies, as well as to the increased occurrence of natural and human-induced mountain fires.

A thorough assessment of the net impacts on Peru's water resources is still lacking. However, the Program for Strengthening of National Capacities to Manage the Impact of Climate Change and Air Pollution ( [http://www.conam.gob.pe/proclim/index.htm# PROCLIM] ) together with CONAM and the Netherland Cooperation Agency published a working model for adaptation which included results from climate scenarios on several river basins. For instance, in the Mantaro River Basin one scenario presents a possible increase (greater then 50%) in precipitation along the entire basin, particularly over the west central mountain range and the Chinchaycocha plateau. According to a second scenario, precipitations in the west central range could increase in more then 100% while in the eastern region they could be reduced by 20%. In the Piura River Basin there is a (i) tendency towards increase of the minimum temperature peaks and the average sea level; (ii) greater probability that the intensity of future El Nino Events will increase; (iii) there will be a occurrence of an El Nino Phenomena during the 2009-2015 period similar to the one of 1982-1983; (iv) a deficit in the balance of water is foreseen during the period 2005-2035; and (v) tendency towards lengthier and more frequent drought periods is noticeable. In the Cordillera Blanca, Santa River Basin precipitations will become the main water resource in view of the severe retreat of the area’s tropical glaciers. Because of the tendencies towards temperature increase, it is expected that the runoff levels will increase until they reach a peak in the first half of the century, to then exhibit a sustained decline in water resources.

Public perceptions related to water and climate change

According to a 2008 survey of Radio RPP, only 37% of respondents think that water is scarce in Peru. Only 27% of respondents living in Lima - a city in the middle of a desert - believe water to be scarce in Lima. 72% of respondents throughout the country believe that Peru is affected by climate change. However, only 8% of respondents think that water scarcity is a consequence of Climate Change. [ Ministerio de Vivienda/JICA/JBIC/Grupo RPP/RPP Noticias/WSP: [http://www.wsp.org/UserFiles/file/Construyendo_una_cultura.pdf Construyendo una cultura del agua en el Perú] .Estudio de perecepción sobre el agua y hábitos de consumo en la población, 2008, p. 10 ]

Ongoing programs and initiatives

The Alan Garcia Administration is currently looking into desalinization as a National Priority to adapting to decreasing water availability. Peru’s Government in planning a US$1,5 billion investment to build two desalinization plants in Lima’s coast to supply water to 1,5 million peopleref_harv|Alan|Europapress|Europapress.

In 1997, the World Bank contributed US$85 million, out of a total of US$172.4 million, to a Subsectoral Irrigation Project ( [http://www.psi.gob.pe/ Programa Subsectorial de Irrigacion] ).

The National Water Resources Management Modernization Project (US$10 million) aims to strengthen the institutional capacity for integrated water resources management at the national level and in three river basins (Chancay-Lambayeque, Ica and Chili) ref_harv|news|Andina|Andina.The Agricultural Research and Extension APL Phase 2 (US$69 million) aims to adopt sustainable agricultural practices in glacier-dependent watersheds.

In June 2007, the GEF Council approved the Regional Adaptation to the Impacts of Rapid Glacier Retreat in the Tropical Andes (Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru) Project. This project aims to implement adaptation measures to meet the anticipated consequences of the catastrophic glacier retreat induced by climate change.

In June 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved US$200 million for a Water Resources Reform Program (WRRP) that would include hydraulic structures, and institutional and legal reforms. In August 2007, the IDB approved an additional US$5 million to support capacity building efforts contained in the WRRP. The IDB is also implementing a water resources management plan for Peru's Maschón and Chonta watersheds. The objective of this US$1.2 million grant is to define the appropriate measures for improving integrated water resources management.

Cited references

*note_label|news|Andina|Andinacite news
first=Agencia Peruana de Noticias
title=Melting glaciers threaten Peru
date=17 March 2008

*note_label|Alan|Europapress|Europapresscite news
title=Alan Garcia asegura que desalinizar las aguas del mar es un objetivo nacional
date=12 March 2008
publisher=Europa Press

*note_label|aquastat|FAO|FAOcite web
author=Food and Agriculture Organization
title=Perfiles de Paises:Peru
accessdate=15 February |accessyear=2008

*note_label|wb|Olson|Olsoncite web
author=Olson, Douglas
title=An opportunity for a different Peru: More prosperous, equitable and governable. Chapter 18: Water Resources
work=World Bank
accessdate=28 February |accessyear=2008

*note_label|estrategianacional|Comision|Comisioncite web
author=Comision tecnica multisectorial
title=Estrategia nacional para la gestión de los recursos hídricos continentales del Perú
work=Ministerio de agricultura
accessdate=3 March |accessyear=2008

*note_label|lagunas|INRENA|INRENAcite web
author=Oficina nacional de evaluación de recursos naturales (previous INRENA)
title=Inventario nacional de lagunas y represamientos
accessdate=3 March |accessyear=2008

*note_label|peruvian|MINAG|MINAGcite web
author=Portal Agrario
title=Historia del Riego y Drenaje en Peru
work=Portal Agrario
accessdate=28 February |accessyear=2008

*note_label| Electricity|MINEM|MINEMcite web
author=Ministerio de energia y minas
title=Anuario estadístico electricidad 2006
accessdate=30 May |accessyear=2007

*note_label|peruvian|Pavez|Pavezcite web
author=Alejandro Pavez Wellmann
title=Las aguas subterraneas en la costa de Peru y el norte de Chile
work=Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
accessdate=28 February |accessyear=2008

*note_label| IFPRI|Ringler|Ringlercite journal
author=Ringler, Claudia; Rosegrant, Mark, W.; and Paisner, Michael S.
title=Irrigation and water resources in Latin America and the Caribbean: challenges and strategies
journal=EPTD Discussion Paper

*note_label|World Bank|Vergara|Vergaracite web
author=Vergara, Walter (et.al)
title=Visualizing Future Climate in Latin America: Results from the Application of the Earth Simulator
work=World Bank
accessdate=28 February |accessyear=2008


ee also

* Peru
* Electricity sector in Peru
* Irrigation in Peru
* Water supply and sanitation in Peru
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0qDc4hXUSY Impacts of Glacier Retreat in the Andes:Documentary]

External links

* [http://www.minag.gob.pe/hidro_drenaje_est.shtml Portal Agrario]
* [http://www.inei.gob.pe/Sisd/index.asp Instituto Nacional de Estadistica e Informatica del Perú]

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