Water Management in the midst of Climate Change and Growing Tourism: A Field Study from the Peruvian Andes
According to climate researchers, melting glaciers is one of the most sever effects of the global climate change. Peru that contains more than seventy percent of the world’s tropical glaciers is particularly vulnerable to this effect. This can be noticed in the country’s southern highlands where the glaciers work as water buffer for millions of people and where the glaciers’ vital function for sustaining life makes their shrinkage an issue of great concern. Simultaneously with decreasing water supplies the region is also experiencing a tourism boom, which is leading to increasing water demands. The biggest attraction in region is the Colca Valley, where the town of Chivay serves as the center point for tourism. Based on data collected during a field study this thesis explores the allocation of Chivay’s potable water and the users’ perception of the quality, the distribution service, and the equity of the potable water scheme. The interviews that this thesis draws on show that the allocation of potable water in Chivay is based on a demand-side approach that uses water meters and price reforms to make the users appreciate water as a scarce resource. They also show that the users who were most concerned about effects of climate change are also among the most positive to the new water management approach. Finally, the interviews show a clear dissonance between the water providers’ and the water users’ perception of Chivay's water quality, distribution service, and water equity.