Newsletter N°1 September 2013



Managing Water in a Dry Land

Managing Water in a Dry Land: Lessons from Chile's Elqui Valley. Video link 

Introduction to the MWAR-LAC Project

The project Managing Water Resources in Semiarid Regions of Latin America and the Caribbean (MWAR-LAC) was launched during the Kick-Off meeting held in Santiago de Chile in November 2012. The objective of the MWAR-LAC project is to strengthen the capacity to manage the water resources of arid and semiarid areas in LAC through networking and facilitating international and regional cooperation. This will be achieved by developing pilot experiences and participating in regional projects together with relevant partners in Latin America and the Caribbean. The MWAR –LAC project is funded by the Flanders-UNESCO Science Trust Fund (FUST) and is implemented by the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) in collaboration with the Water Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Zones in Latin America and the Caribbean (CAZALAC). In this first newsletter, an overview is given of project activities and some of their preliminary results. Read more...   

The Chilean Agroclimatic Observatory

Reducing vulnerability to droughts and other agroclimatic events with relevant, rapid response information for early warning purposes is the key goal of the Agroclimatic Observatory, which was launched on the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought (17 June) and implemented in collaboration with Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture, the FAO and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). The observatory advises the National Climate Risk Management Unit, providing updated information on meteorological, hydrological, and agricultural conditions. The observatory builds upon the Climate Data Library, which was installed in Chile with support of the IRI, and allows managing data sets online, calculating indicators, visualizing maps and exporting them to a range of formats.  In the next months the observatory will be further consolidated in close collaboration with the final stakeholders. Read more...  

Building Capacity on Water Management

The MWAR-LAC supported two courses with a focus on adaptive water management in drylands.

The "Training Institute on Adaptive Management of Water Resources under Climate Change in Vulnerable River Basins" was held in La Serena, Chile, from 8-17 October, 2012, and explored the increasing pressure on water resources, especially in arid and semiarid regions, climate change, hydroclimatic variability, population growth, urbanization, rising demands for food, societal vulnerability and ecosystem water needs. The second course focused on the linkage between Water and Energy, "Training Institute on Adaptive Water-Energy Management in the Arid Americas", and was held recently from June 24 - July 3, 2013, also in La Serena.

The objective was to strengthen water and energy security through joint management in the context of adaption to global change in the Arid Americas. Read more...

Drought Atlas for Latin America

Advances have been made in the development of a unified Drought Atlas for countries in Latin America. Based upon the methodology developed in colaboration with the International Center for Integrated Water Resource Management (ICIWaRM) and the European Joint Research Centre (JRC). Through a set of workshops and specialized trainings, many of which in collaboration with the EU-funded projects Euroclima and RALCEA, the first version of the LAC Drought Atlas is rapidly nearing finalization, with national drought atlases being already created for Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Read more...    |    go to the preliminary LAC Drought Atlas

Outreach to Dryland Vulnerable Communities

This activity focuses on reducing the climatic vulnerability of Andean vulnerable communities, by supporting alternative soil water management solutions to optimize available water resources and increase water use efficiency. The use of deficit irrigation techniques is promoted, through the development of a Manual for Quinoa production systems in the Bolivian Altiplano. On the other hand, the COSWAND (Conservation of Soil and Water in Andes Countries) activity provides capacity building on soil water management strategies to farmers and their families in small-holder communities in order to reduce their vulnerability to drought and (increasing) climatic variability. Read more...    

Latin American School of Applied Soil Science

The Latin American School of Applied Soil Science or ELAFIS was organized from 9-12 July 2012 in Medellin, Colombia and focussed on "Prevention of disasters and rational management of the natural environment through soil physics and hydrology". The ELAFIS activity contributes to capacity building of young professionals and early-career scientists on topics related to soil and water management, in order to enhance resilience of natural and agricultural systems to drought and desertification. Read more....

Upcoming Events and Activities

  • Workshop on the Caribbean Drought Atlas - Jamaica, 4-8 November 2013
  • Development of the Drought Expert Database for the LAC region (read more...)

MWAR LAC - Managing Water Resources in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions of Latin America and the Caribbean