Climate Adaptation Learning from the Peruvian Blue-Green Infrastructure

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Peruvian Basin Blue-green Infrastructure
The Huanza Hydroelectric Power Plant is Peru’s second-largest.

Blue-Green infrastructure is incorporating natural systems and materials with traditional engineering. The Wetlands International article explains:

“If we merge the dynamic and adaptable properties of natural areas (wetlands) with the semi-natural (linear parks with roads), that are interconnected (with drainage systems and green roof corridors), we end up with Blue-Green Infrastructure. “

The article mentions the ‘Amunas’ or water channels that Peruvians built to capture water from rivers and streams. Then it channels along the mountain slopes using local and natural materials like rocks, earth, clay and sand.

The water channels also capture and store rain and provide needed irrigation, especially in dry seasons to the people living along the mountains and highlands. Amunas cost less to build because of the abundance of natural materials around and maintenance can be done by the communities.

Peruvians also find much value and benefits in restoring their ‘bofedales’ or wetlands. These high Andean wetlands contain peat.

Covered with vegetation, they act as a high-level sponge that filters and purify water which in turn provides food and water to their livestock. However, these wetlands have volatile ecosystems and are vulnerable to human activities like overgrazing, mining, and peat extraction.

It is through water, either its excess or scarcity, that climate change will be mostly felt. For many regions with dry climates and have water problems, efficient water management is the key to their resilience to climate change.

Merging nature-based solutions with built infrastructures is one way to adapt and reduce climate risks, the article says.

Citing river management as an example, the article explains that avoidance of building infrastructure alongside it can prevent flooding while giving ample space for rivers to overflow and expand during heavy rainfall.

This will allow water to flow safely, reducing its velocity which can prevent erosion and avoid any damage to the community and assets because of flooding. The space alongside the river during seasons with the low and medium flow can be used for recreation and other purposes.

In highly urban areas with a lot of buildings, creating green roofs, and planting vegetation will help retain water and even purify it, regulate heat and evaporation, and encourage ecosystems to flourish.

There are many benefits to implementing blue-green infrastructure management to adapt to climate change. They are low-cost and provide almost instant results, the article advises. 

CLICK on the link below to read the full article:

Blue-Green Infrastructure for Climate Change Adaptation: Combining nature and semi-natural structures for water management and risk reduction in the Peruvian basins

PHOTO CREDIT: Image by tuproyecto from Pixabay

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