Zurich University experts and the National Water Authority (ANA) spoke in forum on glaciers, water and risk

The academic forum “Glaciers, an opportunity for water and risk management” was held with great success. It was organized by the National Water Authority (ANA) through the Glaciology and Water Resources Unit of the University of Zurich and the National University Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo (Unasam).

The event received more than 250 attendees, among local authorities, representatives of institutions, community leaders, students, researchers, companies and public interested in the subjects discussed.

The forum opened with the presentation by Alejo Cochachín, coordinator (a.i.) of the Glaciology and Water Resources Unit of the Water Resources Conservation and Planning Office of the National Water Authority, who emphasized the loss of 47% of glacier surface in Peru during the past 45 years, meaning a considerable reduction of water reserves. In turn, Wilfried Haeberli, professor of the Glaciology, Geomorphodynamics and Geochronology Unit of the University of Zurich and consultant for the Glaciers+ Project, spoke about the formation of new lagoons as a result of glacier retreat, making it an opportunity for water supply, but, at the same time, a possible threat for the population located on the lower area. Christian León highlighted the need to integrate the knowledge of natural and socio-economic sciences to create a vision of the future, in particular, of the Santa River basin, where the study is being conducted.

Another important presentation addressed the albedo reversion to preserve glacier mass, a pilot experiment conducted by Rolando Cruz, who underscored the importance of meteorological stations in glacier areas to obtain accurate data on the impact analysis of glaciers. Meanwhile, Holger Frey explained the modeling process in the construction of the danger map of floods for the Quillcay sub-basin, which is currently used by the population of Huaraz to identify evacuation routes and safe zones.

Finally, Christian Huggel, consultant for the Glaciares+ Project, reflected on the impact of climate change on glaciers and on the urgency of making comprehensive and participative decisions with regard to water and risk management, multipurpose projects being a viable option.

The event was held in the auditorium of Telemático, of the UNASAM in Huaraz, with the support of the Glaciers+ Project, an initiative of the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (COSUDE) executed by CARE Perú and the Swiss consortium headed by the University of Zurich.

Glaciers+, forms part of the Global Program for Climate Change and Environment of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – Cosude. It works in coordination with the National Water Authority and the Ministry of the Environment seeking to take hold of water resources management opportunities to face glacier retreat. It is implemented in Ancash, Cuzco and Lima and is executed by the consortium CARE Perú and the University of Zurich.

Source: Web Glaciares+

Relevant links:
Glaciares+ program, project fiche, Swiss Embassy, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – COSUDE



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La Agencia Suiza para el Desarrollo y la Cooperación (COSUDE) es la entidad encargada de la cooperación internacional dentro del Departamento Federal de Asuntos Exteriores (DFAE). Con otras oficinas de la Confederación, la COSUDE es responsable de la coordinación general de la cooperación para el desarrollo y de la cooperación con los Países del Este, así como de los programas de ayuda humanitaria suizos.