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Elqui River Basin, Chile
The Elqui River Basin (ERB) is a dryland region in northern Chile, nestled between steep slopes of the Andes. Livelihoods are heavily dependent on agriculture, including table grapes for exportation, pisco grapes (for Chilean brandy), and to a lesser degree, avocado and citrus. Production is dependent on irrigation with water derived predominantly from the Elqui River, fed by snow and ice melt in the Andes.
Gwen Young worked closely with colleagues from the Universidad de La Serena to characterize the vulnerability of Diaguitas, an irrigation-dependent agricultural community sensitive to water and climate-related conditions, and to assess the role that institutions play in facilitating or hindering community adaptation.
The case study demonstrated that community vulnerability occurs within broader physical, economic, political and social contexts, and adaptation is often constrained by weakened social networks and institutions. Vulnerability in the community varies amongst occupations, resource uses and accessibility to water resources, making some more sensitive to variations in climate and water regimes. Changes in climate that affect water resources will have major implications for individuals, industry and water management institutions if adaptation does not occur.
This research was facilitated by:
- Institutional Adaptation to Climate Change (IACC) MCRI (SSHRC)
- Arthur D. Latornell Graduate Travel Scholarship (University of Guelph)
- Canada Research Chairs program
- Canadian Foundation for Innovation