Potential contributions of pre-Inca infiltration infrastructure to Andean water security

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Title: Potential contributions of pre-Inca infiltration infrastructure to Andean water security
Authors: Ochoa-Tocachi, BF
Bardales, JD
Antiporta, J
Pérez, K
Acosta, L
Mao, F
Zulkafli, Z
Gil-Ríos, J
Angulo, O
Grainger, S
Gammie, G
De Bièvre, B
Buytaert, W
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Water resources worldwide are under severe stress from increasing climate variability and human pressures. In the tropical Andes, pre-Inca cultures developed nature-based water harvesting technologies to manage drought risks under natural climatic extremes. While these technologies have gained renewed attention as a potential strategy to increase water security, limited scientific evidence exists about their potential hydrological contributions at catchment scale. Here, we evaluate a 1,400-year-old indigenous infiltration enhancement system that diverts water from headwater streams onto mountain slopes during the wet season to enhance the yield and longevity of downslope natural springs. Infiltrated water is retained for an average of 45 d before resurfacing, confirming the system’s ability to contribute to dry-season flows. We estimate that upscaling the system to the source-water areas of the city of Lima can potentially delay 99 × 106 m3 yr−1 of streamflow and increase dry-season flows by 7.5% on average, which may provide a critical complement to conventional engineering solutions for water security.
Issue Date: 24-Jun-2019
Date of Acceptance: 7-May-2019
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/70988
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0307-1
ISSN: 2398-9629
Publisher: Springer
Journal / Book Title: Nature Sustainability
Copyright Statement: © 2019 Springer-Verlag. The final publication is available at Springer via https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0307-1.
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Imperial College London
Natural Environment Research Council [2006-2012]
Funder's Grant Number: NE/I004017/1
NE/K010239/1
President's PhD Scholarship
NE/L002515/1
Publication Status: Published online
Embargo Date: 2019-12-24
Online Publication Date: 2019-06-24
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences



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