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Karol Hermoza

GVI Peru supports local partners Centro Bartolomé de las Casas and the Nature Conservancy in a 3-year project denominated ‘Adaptation of Water Resource Management to Climate Change’. This project has taken us on a long journey to understand the importance of water to the communities in the Piuray-Ccorimarca micro basin. GVI works around the UN Sustainable Development Goals and this project influences directly SDG # 6 Clean Water and Sanitation and SDG # 13 Climate Action, as we support efforts to preserve water in order to face the new challenges climate change has brought.

View of the Piuray lagoon

You might believe water is just reduced to a bill at the end of the month. But not, water is more than that. Through our work in community development, we have learned water is life, water is essential for our food, housing, knowledge and it has a soul. We should be putting water as a top priority when dealing with integrated management of resources. Water is an essential part of the economic, social, and environmental systems that are part of the sustainable development of Cusco. We can’t think about water just as a simple natural resource, water is more than that.

Although climate change has changed volumes of water and other resources around the Piuray lagoon, that doesn’t limit its relevance to the communities and Cusco. Mama Cocha Piuray or Mother Piuray is the name community members give the lagoon because for them is their mother, the one that gives life and the one they need to protect. Piuray gives 42% of water to the city of Cusco and SEDA CUSCO uses this essential resource to maintain Cusco water systems. The 16 communities around the Piuray lagoon had to accept the new use of their lagoon and see how is changing their landscape. Climate change is also contributing to the future lack of water, rainy seasons are no longer the same and community members need to think outside the box on how to preserve water for their future harvests. Besides, there is a matter in terms of water quality, many of the water resources are contaminated and we need to address the issue with all the stakeholders involved.

Drawing from a child in the community about Piuray

Using ancient knowledge in combination with current technologies we can achieve great things for water preservation. From no longer planting eucalyptus which takes lots of water to move back to native plants that will potentially preserve underground water. Diversifying agricultural products using water in a minimal way that moves towards organic practices. Supporting constant cleanings in essential water resources that are used for agricultural purposes and cattle raising. There are plenty of actions that we continue to do in order to preserve water and this is only possible due to the agreements between community members, NGOs, and government institutions that understand the issues in the long-run.

Through the work in this project, GVI has supported reforestation efforts, greenhouses development, and more specifically the cleaning and fencing of a water resource. We are very proud to see we are not just contributing to long-term objectives but sharing a vision of water beyond the common knowledge. We understand water is essential for life and we need to support water management in a more comprehensive state. We must take the knowledge from the community members who are more aware of what’s best for them and their lands and support grassroots efforts to keep improving water sources. GVI hopes to support future projects in terraces, infiltration ditches, and environmental awareness that will continue to advance our thinking about water preservation.

GVI Volunteer cleaning a water source