Organizations push for new metrics to guarantee water in Latin America

Mexico City, Aug 24 (EFE).- Organizations and specialists are promoting new metrics to guarantee water security in Latin America, as the region faces a scenario of droughts, and to reevaluate the use of water for domestic, industrial and energy generation purposes.

At the World Water Week 2022, organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, a researcher at The Nature Conservancy, pointed out that there is no set of standardized metrics for water funds to monitor and evaluate their impact on water security.

He explained that water security is defined as “the ability of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of water of acceptable quality for sustainable livelihoods, human well-being, and socioeconomic development.”

He also considered it necessary to ensure protection from water-borne pollution and water-related disasters, as well as the conservation of ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability.

Miralles-Wilhelm detailed that five dimensions are proposed to quantify water security: water scarcity index, household water security, economic water security, environmental water security and security in the face of water-related disasters.

IDB recently proposed a regional approach with a diagnostic analysis at the country level that also uses multiple “key dimensions” to achieve water security.

In 2011, the Latin American Water Funds Partnership was created, which is an agreement between the IDB, the Femsa Foundation, the Global Environment Facility and The Nature Conservancy, among other multilateral organizations.

In total, the alliance oversees the supervision of a network of 26 water funds in 10 Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Chile.

Ana Laura Elizondo, head of water security at Fundación Femsa, highlighted the need to advance in a more integrated data system that facilitates more efficient planning in the use of water at different scales, whether it is the management of basins, urban environments, or at the country level.

Elizondo said that the priority is to implement immediately viable and sustainable practices, because it is not possible to wait for the products and data to “be perfect” but rather to “do something sequential.”

Peter Penning, managing partner at ALO Advisors, stressed that an important factor in managing water is to remember the relationship between supply and demand.

He said that with these indexes you can identify the consumption of a specific economic or social sector, and with that, take the appropriate measures to address it.

“And ideally, they should get real-time or very up-to-date data and have automated data collection processes,” he added.

In a recent study, Moody’s rating agency indicated that climate change will lead to more frequent droughts, increasing the risks for the operation of hydroelectric power plants in Latin America, which generate 40% of the region’s energy.

“Hydropower development will peak in 2022; environmental risks limit expansion,” Moody’s said in its report at the end of July. EFE


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