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Wagnitz P.,World Wide Fund for Nature WWF | Nunez J.,Water Center for Arid and Semi Arid Zones in Latin America and the Caribbean | Ribbe L.,Cologne University of Applied Sciences
Hydrological Sciences Journal | Year: 2014

This investigation presents a new approach to estimate the costs resulting from the introduction of environmental flows in the arid Huasco River basin, located in the Atacama Region of Chile, one of the most sophisticated private water markets worldwide. The aim is to provide information to the water users, who hold the right to decide on water use, and thereby support the inclusion of environmental flows into decision-making. Costs are estimated by calculating the loss of agricultural productivity resulting from a trade-off between users and environmental flow requirements in times of water scarcity. Based on environmental flow requirements calculated by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and hydrological supply-and-demand modelling using the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model, economic parameters of water productivity are calculated for the main economic sectors and then included in hydrological analysis. The study presents concrete costs that might be imposed on the water users during times of water scarcity, and confirms that there are significant variations in water productivity between different sectors. Editor Z.W. Kundzewicz; Guest editor M. AcremanCitation Wagnitz, P. Núñez, J. and Ribbe, L. 2014. Cost of environmental flow during water scarcity in the arid Huasco River basin, northern Chile. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 59 (3-4), 700-712. © 2014 © 2014 IAHS Press.

Lostarnau C.,University of La Serena | Oyarzun J.,University of La Serena | Maturana H.,University of La Serena | Soto G.,Water Center for Arid and Semi Arid Zones in Latin America and the Caribbean | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Management | Year: 2011

The main objective of this paper is to present a critical analysis of the stakeholder participation process within the Environmental Impact Assessment System in Chile, after ca. 14 years of being enforced. This analysis is sustained by the description and analysis of the stakeholder participation possibilities in a representative rural area of North-Central Chile. The Environmental Basis Act 19300, enacted in 1994, considers the participation of the local community in the environmental impact assessment of new projects. However, this possibility is very limited and difficult to exert, often resulting in frustration for the participants. This is due to a number of reasons, such as the imbalance of resources and knowledge among the majority of participating communities and project proponents, the complexity and administrative and legal constraints to participation, and the dominant interest of the Central Government in approving investments, specifically in energy and natural resources related projects, which generate wealth and jobs. Also, the State's rush to develop Internet-based communication and management systems has built a barrier for poor, traditional communities. This factor is clearly reflected in the case study considered. Results show that there is generally a significant lack of knowledge about institutions and participation tools. From this base, we intend to raise concern on these selected aspects that could be addressed to improve the effectiveness of the existing framework, both in Chile and in other developing countries, where immature environmental impact assessment and public management systems face similar pressures in relation to the sustainable use of their natural resources. Finally, some basic steps are proposed in order to make the community participation an effective tool for sustainable development. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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