CR2 Researchers Presented Report on Water Security at the Ministry of Public Works

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The coordinators of the Seventh Report to the Nations presented the study’s primary findings and future projections regarding water availability in Chile.

CR2 researchers Camila Álvarez and Juan Pablo Boisier presented the report “Water Security in Chile: Characterization and Future Perspectives” to the Minister of Public Works, Jéssica López Saffie, last Thursday. Authorities from the Directorate of Hydraulic Works and advisors from the Ministry of Public Works were present at the meeting.

Key topics from the report, such as updated data from various basins in Chile and projections on water use and availability, were presented.

One of the concepts addressed was water security, defined as the possibility of accessing water in adequate quantity and quality for human sustenance, health, and socioeconomic development. They also referred to legislation related to ecological flow, which establishes a maximum protection limit of 20% of the basins’ annual mean flow, obliging the allocation of between 80 and 100% of surface water use rights.

Furthermore, consumptive water use has doubled since 1960. This, combined with the high to extreme levels of water stress experienced by the basins between the Coquimbo and Maule regions during the 2010-2020 decade, places Chile in a complex situation that must be addressed, considering scientific projections.

Juan Pablo Boisier, a researcher in the water and extremes line, valued the opportunity at the Ministry of Public Works. “I consider it very relevant that a high-ranking government official is interested in learning first-hand the scope of a study on such an important issue for the country,” he stated.

He also explained that, from his perspective, “scientific knowledge is a fundamental element for decision-making in this matter” since “it is through science that we become more aware of the causes and impacts of environmental phenomena, climate change in particular. Furthermore, science allows us to characterise these phenomena and potential vulnerabilities in society and ecosystems. This knowledge, in turn, allows us to establish beneficial scenarios for the design of plans or public policies,” he concluded.

For her part, CR2 researcher and report coordinator Camila Álvarez highlighted the meeting, detailing that “it demonstrates the ministry’s interest in understanding the scientific evidence we present in the report.” She also emphasised that “it is a great opportunity for us to disseminate the results, explain the recommendations, and more directly convey some of our messages, such as the need to set quantifiable water security goals at the basin scale, which can serve as input for sustainable planning of water resources in the context of climate change.”

This type of meeting is part of CR2’s objectives, where one of the goals is to collaborate with the public policy cycle and inform society about the scientific knowledge generated. In this regard, Camila Álvarez indicated that “this is an obvious instance of science-policy interface. We hope to have more opportunities like this in the future.” Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Boisier stated, “We expressed our willingness to collaborate, providing additional information or other support as required.”

We invite you to read the Seventh Report to the Nations, “Water Security in Chile: Characterization and Future Perspectives,” coordinated by researchers Gustavo Blanco, Juan Pablo Boisier, and Camila Álvarez, where you can find water projections for the basins of Chile, their current state, and recommendations for decision-makers.