New publication on water risks in deglaciating mountain areas in Peru

New publication on water risks in deglaciating mountain areas in Peru

Our team member, Alina Motschmann, just published a paper from her PhD project in Geoenvironmental Disasters: “Towards integrated assessments of water risks in deglaciating mountain areas: water scarcity and GLOF risk in the Peruvian Andes“.

Alina and her co-authors, Christian Huggel, Randy Muñoz and Angela Thür, assessed water scarcity and glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) risks and their interactions for two study sites in glacierized catchments in the Cordillera Blanca and Urubamba in the Peruvian Andes. The two sites are located
nearby a large city and are characterized by their small-scale agriculture and the effects of glacier shrinkage.

The authors  used hydrological modelling, GLOF flow path modelling, and interviews with local people and technical experts to assess the hazard and risks of water scarcity and GLOFs. They found that both water scarcity (low-flow water risk) and GLOFs (high-flow water risks) could have important impacts on local population, infrastructure & economic activities. Interestingly, for local populations water scarcity was a major risk, while state institutions focus on GLOFs risk management.

When it comes to design and implementation of adaptation or risk reduction measures, the study demonstrates the importance of considering different water related risks but also aspects of water supply and demand as critical drivers of potential or effective water scarcity. Discrepancies in water usage are often linked to issues of access to water, equitable distribution of water, power relations, or economic deprivation. Given these perspectives, strong interdisciplinary efforts are needed to address water
risks.

This publication is Alina‘s second PhD paper. Alina is leading the Agua Futuro project, which focuses on the highly glaciated Santa and Vilcanota river basins in Peru and integrates hydrodinamic and socioeconomic data.

Congratulations, Alina!

Read the full article “Towards integrated assessments of water risks in deglaciating mountain areas: water scarcity and GLOF risk in the Peruvian Andes”, here.

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