22.214.171.124 Water resources
The lack of adequate adaptation strategies in Latin American countries to cope with the hazards and risks of floods and droughts is due to low gross national product (GNP), the increasing population settling in vulnerable areas (prone to flooding, landslides or drought) and the absence of the appropriate political, institutional and technological framework (Solanes and Jouravlev, 2006). Nevertheless, some communities and cities have organised themselves, becoming active in disaster prevention (Fay et al., 2003). Many poor inhabitants were encouraged to relocate from flood-prone areas to safer places. With the assistance of IRDB and IDFB loans, they built new homes, e.g., resettlements in the Paraná river basin of Argentina, after the 1992 flood (IRDB, 2000). In some cases, a change in environmental conditions affecting the typical economy of the Pampas has led to the introduction of new production activities through aquaculture, using natural regional fish species such as pejerrey (Odontesthes bonariensis) (La Nación, 2002). Another example, in this case related to the adaptive capacity of people to water stresses, is given by ‘self organisation’ programmes for improving water supply systems in very poor communities. The organisation Business Partners for Development Water and Sanitation Clusters has been working on four ‘focus’ plans in LA: Cartagena (Colombia), La Paz and El Alto (Bolivia), and some underprivileged districts of Gran Buenos Aires (Argentina) (The Water Page, 2001; Water 21, 2002). Rainwater cropping and storage systems are important features of sustainable development in the semi-arid tropics. In particular, there is a joint project developed in Brazil by the NGO Network ASA Project, called the P1MC- Project, for 1 million cisterns to be installed by civilian society in a decentralised manner. The plan is to supply drinking water to 1 million rural households in the perennial drought areas of the Brazilian semi-arid tropics (BSATs). During the first stage, 12,400 cisterns were built by ASA and the Ministry of Environment of Brazil and a further 21,000 were planned by the end of 2004 (Gnadlinger, 2003). In Argentina, national safe water programmes for local communities in arid regions of Santiago del Estero province installed ten rainwater catchments and storage systems between 2000 and 2002 (Basán Nickisch, 2002).
Several Latin American countries have developed planned and autonomous adaptation measures in response to current climate variability impacts on their coasts. Most of them (e.g., Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Venezuela) focus their adaptation on integrated coastal management (Hoggarth, et al., 2001; UNEP, 2003b, Natenzon et al., 2005a, b; Nagy et al., 2006b). The Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Global Climate Change project is promoting actions to assess vulnerability (especially regarding rise in sea level), and plans for adaptation and development of appropriate capacities (CATHALAC, 2003). Since 2000, some countries have been improving their legal framework on matters related to establishing restrictions on air pollution and integrated marine and coastal regulation (e.g., Venezuela’s integrated coastal zone plan since 2002). Due to the strong pressure of human settlement and economic activity, a comprehensive policy design is now included within the ‘integrated coastal management’ modelling in some countries, such as Venezuela (MARN, 2005) and Colombia (INVEMAR, 2005). In Belize and Guyana, the implementation of land-use planning and zoning strengthens the norms for infrastructure, the coastal-zone management plan, the adjustment of building codes and better disaster-mitigation strategies (including floodplain and other hazard mapping), which, along with climate-change considerations, are used in the day-to-day management of all sectors (CDERA, 2003; UNDP-GEF, 2003).