MONTAÑA Elma Carmen
congresos y reuniones científicas
"Groundwater in the Mendoza River basin: some concerns about water security"
Conferencia; WRRC 2013 Conference: "Water Security from the Ground". Session 5: Water Security Policies; 2013
Institución organizadora:
Water Resources Research Center (WRRC), University of Arizona
As in other dry lands of central western Argentina, in Mendoza river basin water is a restricting factor for human settlement and agriculture. The intensive viticulture and horticulture are only possible if tied to water management, making use of surface water distributed by the irrigation network or pumping groundwater. The Mendoza River water balance is tight, so groundwater water becomes a strategic resource to complement scarce surface water in dry years, and it is expected to become crucial to water security as climate change scenarios for this region anticipate longer and more severe droughts. In this context, the paper describes the use of groundwater in the Mendoza River basin, explaining it in relation to physical, economic and social factors as well as to institutional arrangements around groundwater that frequently contradict the surface water regulations. Then, it points out some problems that characterize groundwater exploitation in the Mendoza River basin and shows the way in which these issues impacted in the water governance system, to the point of mobilizing the public, the media and the provincial authorities in removing the authorities of the Mendoza?s water agency in 2012. Finally, the presentation makes use of this case to reflect and contribute to a discussion on water security in peripheral South American drylands and the role played by groundwater in ensuring it.