Zurite, Perú (3400 m.a.s.l.) derives irrigation water from the 2.12 square kilometer Upper Ramuschaka Watershed (URW) ~ 1000 m above. The URW is part of the puna biome - a seasonally dry grass and shrub ecosystem existing at the altitudinal limits of vegetation and from which non-glacially fed streams originate. Faculty, 29 students from the U.S. and from Perú, and local community members completed a two year investigation of water resources in the URW and collaborated with the community to build 1.3 km of irrigation canals to serve over 100 families. We have quantified seasonal dynamics in water resources and identified hydrologically important low gradient peat forming wetlands, known locally as bofedales. Dry season release of large quantities of stored water from bofedales appears to sustain baseflow, suggesting bofedales are key features in achieving regional water security.
Speaker: Jasper Oshun, Humboldt State University
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