Agroindustry and the (mis)use of water in Ica
10 Dec 2014
As government officials and international functionaries gathered in Lima to discuss problems of climate change and how to solve them, the drama of misuse of scarce water resources was taking place under their very noses. For years agroindustries – notably those producing asparagus – have been draining the water resources of Ica, to the detriment of small-scale agricultural producers in this arid region to the south of Lima.
The newspaper La República on December 8 published an exposeé of the way in which agroindustries exploit clandestine wells, drilled illegally on their properties. The water available in subsoil reservoirs is rapidly being used up as a result. Plans to bring water from the sierra in neighbouring Huancavelica to help resolve water shortages in Ica have met with resistance from alpaca herdsmen and others who depend on water there for their own livelihoods. This year the rains in the highlands have been very late, a possible indication in itself of climate change.
While asparagus farmers enjoy access to water in Ica, communities face acute shortages, with supplies often restricted to a few hours a week. To read the La República piece, go to: http://www.larepublica.pe/08-12-2014/ica-falta-de-agua-cuestiona-modelo-agroexportador