Project Area

For the project area, two watersheds were selected: Santo Tomás (Chumbivilcas Province in Cuzco) and Challhuahuacho (Cotambambas province in Apurimac), with a population of approximately 85,000 people, almost exclusively rural. The situation of these watersheds is representative of what happens in other Andean regions, so the experience of this project is replicable in other areas.

The watershed covers and area of 4,331km2 and extends over 3 ecological zones:

  •  Between 3,000 and 3,200masl  with a dry climate and subtropical mountain, where corn is cultivated
  • Between 3,200 and 4,000masl with a humid subtropical climate, where potatoes, wheat, barley, quinoa and root vegetables are cultivated
  • Above 4,000masl with a sub-alpine climate, with areas of pasture, particularly for sheep and cattle up to 4500m and camelids (alpacas and llamas) above the 4,500 m

The Santo Tomás watershed has a predominantly livestock and forestry potential. However, with respect to livestock resources, it has been reported that there are few camelids (llamas and alpacas) which have been displaced by sheep. This, in turn, has negative impacts on soil and grass. It is also known that the number of horses is excessive and is affecting the wetlands that are the main sources of water the cattle, especially camelids. Little is known about the exploitation of native forests and native wildlife for use as firewood or charcoal production. It has also been reported the depletion of water sources, lack of protection of aquifers (exploitation), high rates of storm water runoff (75%) and water shortages in middle and lower parts of the mountains. Early flowering, temperature change in seasons, reduced flows in rivers, disappearance of wildlife, maize shift towards higher parts, short and violent rains and landslides, and pests are some manifestations of changes in climate in the area.

The Cotabambas and Chumbivilcas provinces are located in the area of ​​the Andes with the highest levels of extreme poverty in the country. Local communities in these areas are permanently affected by recurring natural phenomena that lead to serious disasters. In these regions, where the population is based in small towns and rural communities, an accelerated retreat of glaciers is being observed, together with inadequate practices of natural resource management for crop and livestock production.

last updated:  Saturday, July 7, 2012