Water security in Latin America and the Caribbean

Project name :

Water security in Latin America and the Caribbean

Project duration :


Location :

Montevideo, Uruguay
Attaining water security in Latin America and the Caribbean, based on the contribution of IHP-LAC Working Groups

IHP Phase VIII Themes and Working Groups in Latin America and the Caribbean

Theme 1: Water-related Disasters and Hydrological Changes

Human activities affect hydrological and ecological systems. In particular, the number of casualties and economic damages caused by water-related disasters, such as floods, droughts, landslides and land subsidence, has increased dramatically worldwide due to several factors, including population growth in areas exposed to water-related disasters.

Theme 2: Groundwater in a Changing Environment

Groundwater is a vital element within the hydrogeological cycle. Globally, groundwater accounts for 98% of non-frozen freshwater and underpins many geological and geochemical processes supporting several ecological functions and services. Groundwater needs further integration into the economic, social and environmental dimensions of water resources. Many people rely on groundwater as the primary source of drinking water, food security and sustainable living.

Groundwater can also be regarded as a safe drinking water source, even in arid and semi-arid regions and small islands and emergencies.


IHP Working Groups in Latin America and the Caribbean addressing Theme 2:

Theme 3: Addressing Water Scarcity and Quality

Even though there is plenty of fresh water on the planet to meet the needs of a world population of nearly seven billion people, it is distributed unevenly over time and space. Some areas are affected by severe droughts, and water is wasted, polluted or poorly managed. For many countries, water scarcity poses a pressing challenge to their overall socio-economic and human development.

IHP Working Groups in Latin America and the Caribbean addressing Theme 3:

Theme 4: Water and Human Settlements in the Future

Latin America and the Caribbean are the most urbanised region on the planet, with more than 80% of their population currently living in cities. Ensuring global access to safe drinking water and sanitation is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Further challenges involve surface and groundwater management in urban and peri-urban areas.

Nowadays, cities worldwide face multiple dynamic pressures linked to climate change, population growth and density, deterioration of urban infrastructure systems, among others. As a result of these pressures, cities in the future will struggle to manage increasingly scarce and unreliable water resources efficiently and provide proper sanitation.


IHP Working Groups in Latin America and the Caribbean addressing Theme 4:

Theme 5: Ecohydrology - Harmony for a Sustainable World

Amid increasing climate instability, population growth, human migration and the rise of new geopolitical hubs affecting the international economy (including food price increases and enhanced environmental impacts), an urgent need has emerged to reverse water resource degradation and prevent biodiversity loss.

Valuing and optimising ecosystem services for society, combined with improving the resilience of watersheds against climate and anthropogenic pressures, could significantly contribute to reaching this goal.


IHP Working Groups in Latin America and the Caribbean addressing Theme 5:

Theme 6: Water Education - Key to Water Security

Addressing the challenges identified in the five previous themes requires building on the efforts already made to improve and update water education across all levels. Within this framework, water education should be construed in a broader sense of hydrological and related sciences.

Within IHP Phase VIII, a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach is adopted to provide opportunities to progress scientific knowledge through the training of scientists as well as strengthen and improve knowledge on water issues through courses aimed at water sector professionals and decision-makers. Water Education should also reach out to mass and community media professionals so that they can convey water issues accurately and effectively. Moreover, the programme supports community education strategies to promote communitywide water conservation and build the skills required by local authorities to co-manage water resources. Eventually, mainstreaming water resources as a critical component of educational curricula from pre-school to upper-intermediate level is regarded as a significant element in the water education agenda.


IHP Working Groups in Latin America and the Caribbean addressing Theme 6: