Unesco Green Citizens

Punas-Agua: Promoting citizen innovations in Peru

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Project begin: 10/08/2012

How could Peru’s Andean populations secure their water supply while maintaining their traditions? Through citizen research and action to implement sustainable water management solutions.

Leading organisation: Instituto Andino de Montaña (a.k.a Instituto de Montaña)
The country where the team is based: Peru
Theme: Biodiversity, Hydrology, Local and Indigenous Knowledge
Sub-themes: Environment, Health, Knowledge sharing, Natural resource management, Rural areas, Sustainable lifestyles, Sustainable living, Water resource management, Water scarcity and quality
Tag: #Youth
Selection: 2020/2021
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The decreasing amount and quality of water from glaciers creates numerous problems for local communities in the Andes, from health to pasturing and crop irrigation. To meet these challenges through collective action, Punas y Agua works with citizens to develop technical, social and cultural solutions to continue living in harmony with their traditional way of life.

Accompanied by Cécilia Turin, a specialist in Andean pastoral and agropastoral systems at the Instituto de Montaña, this citizen-led initiative organises and trains local communities and researchers. Teams carry out on-the-ground research to find and implement the most appropriate solutions. Careful monitoring enables further research and constant improvements.

Natural, ancestorial water management methods

Punas y Agua has helped communities in the Santa River basin (25,000 people) and the Cañete River (5,600 people) improve water access and quality. By reappropriating ancestral storage methods and optimising pasturing, water retention and flow in the high-altitude prairies have increased. Through this participative action, the research groups have evolved into regional network connecting multiple communities.

With support from the Instituto de Montaña, the solutions have also been duplicated and adapted in other Peruvian regions.

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