Improving Climate Change Resiliency in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Improving Climate Change Resiliency in Latin America and the Caribbean

Chira-Piura Watershed in Piura, Peru. Piura is the most productive basin of coastal Peru, and is currently undergoing fast economic growth in multiple sectors.

Chira-Piura water managers and decision-makers participating at the vulnerability workshop with AECOM in Piura, Peru.

Glacial structure in Ancash, Peru, as of 1969.

Glacial retreat in Ancash, Peru. (2013).

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.@AECOM employee works w/ @USAID to strengthen #resilience to #climatechange! Check out the #AECOMImpact blog post: http://bit.ly/1vLcgDP
Monday, January 26, 2015 - 9:05am

CAMPAIGN: Managing complexity, building better lives.

CONTENT: Blog

Kena Vasquez, project manager in AECOM’s international development business, discusses her work with the U.S. Agency for International Development to strengthen resilience to climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean.

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to participate in the vulnerability training workshop as part of AECOM’s Partnering for Adaptation and Resilience – Agua (PARA-Agua), or “For Water,” project. PARA-Agua is an initiative that collaborates with scientists, decision-makers and communities across Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen resilience to climate change through a better understanding of climate impacts on key water resources.

The workshop was held for key actors in the Chira-Piura watershed situated in Piura, Peru. This experience allowed me to witness our project’s scientists and water engineers in action as they provided hands-on capacity building on how to generate a series of water management strategies by using the project’s Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model.  The WEAP model is a system that allows for an integrated assessment of climate change shifting hydrology and water management. Based on the results from a series of model runs under various climate change scenarios, participants were able to produce information on and evaluate the performance of various management strategies in the face of climate uncertainties. The results obtained from this exercise will also provide the basis for prioritization of investments in climate resilient infrastructure and non-structural adaptation interventions.

In Latin America, the need for sustainable development has become more important than ever.  Climate change is negatively impacting water resources, agriculture and ecosystems. Increasing temperatures are altering hydrological cycles, and downstream communities are increasingly dependent on shrinking glaciers for potable water, agriculture and hydropower. But, there is no scientific consensus on the extent of the exact mechanisms for downstream impacts.  To meet these challenges, our expected results include the following:

  • Improved understanding of climate change impacts on watershed function, including on high-montane and páramos water supplies
  • New climate adaptation tools, technologies and methodologies to be developed and used by policymakers and local communities
  • New networks and mechanisms for data sharing between researchers, policymakers, and watershed stakeholders on climate change adaptation
  • Increased participation by local communities, including women and disadvantaged populations, in developing climate change adaptation and watershed management solutions
  • Increased investment in climate resilient infrastructure and non-structural adaptation interventions in target watersheds
  • Establishment of legacy organizations to continue project activities

During its first year, the PARA-Agua project initiated work in selected watersheds in Peru and Colombia, and has plans to expand to other countries in Latin America. The project is gaining significant momentum and, as a result, was featured in an event at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 20th session of the Conference of the Parties held in Lima, Peru. The PARA-Agua project clearly highlights AECOM’s commitment to sustainability around the world — and as a native Peruvian, being part of the AECOM community supporting this initiative has been a very rewarding experience thus far.

Check out more blog posts on sustainability and resilience on the AECOM Impact blog!

About AECOM

With nearly 100,000 employees — including architects, engineers, designers, planners, scientists and management and construction services professionals — serving clients in more than 150 countries around the world following the acquisition of URS, AECOM is a premier, fully integrated infrastructure and support services firm. AECOM is ranked as the #1 engineering design firm by revenue in Engineering News-Record magazine’s annual industry rankings. The company is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, oil and gas, water, high-rise buildings and government. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM companies, including URS Corporation and Hunt Construction Group, had revenue of approximately $19.5 billion during the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2014. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at www.aecom.com.

Media:
AECOM Technology Corporation
Ed Mayer, +1.732.564.3380
Vice President, Corporate Communications
Ed.Mayer@aecom.com

Keywords: Environment | AECOM | PARA-Agua | Peru | Positive Change | USAID | climate change

CAMPAIGN: Managing complexity, building better lives.

CONTENT: Blog

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