LAC: Integrated Water Resources Management: towards a water secure future

In Latin America, just like in other parts of the world, the economy, health, ecosystems and food production all rely on this one precious resource: enough and good quality water, now and in the future.  The COVID pandemic has made the need for a water secure environment even more urgent. The climate, meteorological phenomena like El Niño o La Niña, socio-economic diversity and the rich landscape of Latin American countries, make water management a real challenge.

Water managers need to plan strategicaly

Water managers need to make strategic long-term plans to preserve, protect and sustainably use water resources, while considering climate change, economic development and water demand from all different users. That obliges them to take a long-term perspective, make use of the best available information, and develop a sound and science-based understanding of their water system.

At Deltares we cooperate with local, regional and national governments to collaboratively build management plans for water resources. For example, in Cali, Colombia, we supported the regional environmental authority (DAGMA) to build their Groundwater Management. Or in Coquimbo, Chile, we analyzed the water system and governance to come up with a method for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and identify potential solutions to mitigate water scarcity. In both examples, our open source software has been a key piece in the understanding of the water system. In the Cauca Valle, Colombia, we used several Deltares software packages to support an integrated analysis and build steps towards facilitating stakeholder engagement in key decisions and planning.

Developing approaches and science based methodologies

Our approach relies on the knowledge built by actively contributing to the development and application of the concept of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and Water Security world-wide, by developing approaches and science based methodologies, by engaging with companies, agencies, stakeholders and water and environment authorities across the region and by developing and applying open source software.

Our software and tools

Deltares Software available to support IWRM includes the River Basin Simulation Model (RIBASIM), for water resources planning and wflow for hydrology, iMOD for groundwater modelling, and D-Water Quality for water quality. The newly developed and community-based Blue Earth Platform facilitates the integration of the different software packages, as well as the retrieval and use of the growing body of global data and makes this available to planners and modelers, free of cost. Above all, we are keen to strengthen our counterparts knowledge base, support green growth and enhance water system intelligence.

Examples of our recent work include:

  • Tool for Integrated Water Management – HERMANA (Colombia)
    This pilot developed a real-time web-based water information tool to support integrated water management. It displays weather and water data, generates user-defined overviews, forecasts, and warnings tailored to the needs of water authorities and their stakeholders.
    Contact persons: Jan Talsma and Marta Faneca
  • Integrated management and efficient use of water resources in the Coquimbo region (Chile)
    In this project a method for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) was developed, and the feasibility of applying this method to the Elqui River Basin (ERB) was assessed. An analysis was conducted in order to understand the local natural water and subsurface systems in combination with water treatment technologies and best practices, involving stakeholders from various fields (including government). Contact person: Hans van Duijne
  • Development of the Paraná Delta (Argentina)
    In this project the current state of the Paraná River Delta was characterized and its development possibilities were evaluated, based on the experience of local groups and the holistic vision of Dutch specialists. Contact persons: William Oliemans and Patricia Trambauer