Vulnerability to Water Scarcity and Glacier Fed Water Availability in the Tropical Callejón de Huaylas, Peru


Runoff from glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca dominates water availability in the Callejón de Huaylas, Peru, during the pronounced dry season (May – August) as well as during the transitional periods after and before the wet season (November – March). Different user groups have adapted to these condi­tions, including respective seasonal and year to year variability, through long traditions in water man­agement techniques. E.g. channel systems and water distribution rules date as far back as pre-Inca epochs. Both aspects, the glacier runoff and the societal structures in the region, have been subject of intensive studies since several decades. Both rural society and climate driven glacier runoff are now undergoing substantial changes which increasingly lead to water related conflicts. The implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures lack from insufficient knowledge and understanding of drivers and processes that interact in a complex way in a system of socio-political structures and environ­mental conditions.



Within our project we apply a three way analytical approach in which MODULE 1 analyses vulnerabilities of rural households and relevant power relations in a study area east of the regional capital city of Huaráz and MODULE 2 identifies processes and consequently models glacier runoff from the water shed of the study area. In MODULE 3 the major challenge will be to jointly identify the time scales and magnitudes of glacier runoff variability and the respective relevance for rural families’ vulnerabilities in order to identify temporal and spatial interferences of the natural and the societal processes. MODULE 1 covers the full spectrum of socio-political varieties from pastoral use of the highest valley floors to densely populated and cultivated areas in the lowest portions, typical for the entire region. MODULE 2 investigates glacier dominated runoff from the Shallap basin by applying process based glacier mass balance and melt modelling on high temporal resolution. Observed and analyzed present day conditions will be the basis for scenarios under potential future climate conditions.

The aim of the project is to provide enhanced knowledge and understanding on complex water availability and water demand issues which shall become beneficial to a wide spectrum of science fields, stakeholder groups, and policy makers.


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Project Leader: 
Project Duration: 
02/01/2012 to 10/14/2015