|Though Peru has plenty of natural water resources, 80 percent is used for agriculture, leaving less for home and other uses. (Photo: El Comercio)|
Carlos Pagador, chief of Peru’s national water authority (ANA), announced today the authority’s $43 million plan for improving water distribution in Peru. Though Peru as a whole has plentiful water resources, the problem stems from the fact that the most densely populated areas are concentrated in the places that have the least water. The Pacific coast contains 1.8 percent of the total water in Peru, but is home to 65 percent of the population.
Pagador reported that overall water availability is an impressive 71,000 cubic meters per person per year, putting Peru at number 17 out of 180 countries for amount of water available. “Water stress arises when the availability of water per person is closer to 1,700 cubic meters, but this country is far from that situation,” he said.
However, broken down by geographic region, it is clear that water distribution is not equitable throughout the country. The Pacific coast has a water availability of 2,040 cubic meters per person per year, while Lake Titicaca and its surroundings has 7,670, and the Amazon basin some 232,980. This demonstrates the enormous asymmetries in the distribution of water compared to the population density in each region.
Pagador also specified that 80 percent of Peru’s water is used for agricultural purposes, leaving in unavailable to satisfy the demands of the population for other uses.
To this end, ANA announced a project that will invest $43 million over five years to modernize six hydrologic basins that currently have infrastructural and other problems. Assuming positive results, the model will be replicated throughout Peru’s 159 hydrologic basins.