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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Colombia’s water thirst- the newly released 2010 IDEAM report points to current and future national challenges

Even in a country as seemingly water-rich as Colombia, water- scarcity and management pose increasingly dire problems. This is at the core of the report released yesterday by Colombia’s Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM).

The institute’s report summarises the findings of a comprehensive 2010 study into national water: supply, demand, availability, quality, risk and vulnerability to climate change.

Amongst the key findings is that Colombia’s water sources, although plentiful vis-à-vis global and regional scarcity problems (six times the world average and three times that of Latin America), are extremely unevenly distributed. Some 80% of the population and their economic activities are located in areas of natural water-deficiency.

The study also points to the significant thirst of agricultural activities. These use some 19,386,000 cubic metres of the 35,877,000 cubic metres consumed annually by the country.

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