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UK Research and Innovations (2021)

WATER CYCLING IN HIGH-ALTITUDE WETLANDS - IMPLICATIONS FOR WATER SECURITY IN THE PERUVIAN ANDES

Water Andes Wetlands

Titre : WATER CYCLING IN HIGH-ALTITUDE WETLANDS - IMPLICATIONS FOR WATER SECURITY IN THE PERUVIAN ANDES

Pays/Région : Arid lowlands of western Peru

Durée : oct. 21 - mars 25

Référence projet : 2592168
Catégorie : Studentship

Résumé
Project highlights The development and validation of hydrological process understanding of high-altitude mountain _ wetlands (bofedales) that will transform understanding of mountain water provision to highly dependent and vulnerable end users in Peru. Co-developed with end-users (CONDESAN) to maximise the impact of the project in regional water resource planning in Peru. A multi-disciplinary project that is closely aligned with NERCs most-wanted skills including : freshwater science, fieldwork, laboratory analysis, modelling and numeracy.

Overview
Mountains are the world’s water towers because they convey large rainfall inputs and meltwater from snow and glaciers to downstream regions. In the arid lowlands of western Peru, runoff from the Andes mountain range is pivotal in meeting domestic and industrial water demand relating to hydropower production, mining and agriculture (Vuille et al., 2018). However, rising water demand, projected climate warming (Pabón-Caicedo et al., 2020), and the continued retreat of Peru’s mountain glaciers (Zemp et al., 2019) are exacerbating national water scarcity and affirm the need for effective water resource planning. A key bottleneck to this, is lack of hydrological process understanding relating to how Andean rainfall and meltwater propagates through the terrestrial water cycle to downstream end users (Buytaert et al., 2017).

In the Peruvian Andes, vast mountain wetland systems, locally known as bofedales, are thought to be important water stores that regulate the release of stored water seasonally and, therefore, are likely to control the provision of mountain runoff to downstream end users (Buytaert et al., 2011). These natural infrastructures also provide wider ecosystem services by altering mountain runoff, enriching local biodiversity and acting as a considerable carbon store (Hribljan et al., 2015). They are, however, extremely vulnerable to hydroclimatic shifts and anthropogenic disturbances brought about by climate warming, glacier retreat, and peat exploitation (Polk et al., 2017). Despite their potential hydrological significance and high vulnerability to environmental change, our current understanding of bofedales hydrology is very limited.

Lead Research Organisation : University of Birmingham

Financement : Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

UK Research and Innovations

Page publiée le 31 août 2022