Nima River Watershed, Colombia

Nima river watershed, Colombia

Nima’s river watershed’s downstream area is surrounded by agricultural landscapes composed mainly by intensive sugarcane farming. REXUS aims to achieve an environmental diagnosis through a participatory approach of the Nima watershed, that highlights the main environmental challenges and needs, identifies potential Nature Based Solutions to address environmental conflicts and challenges and provides the basis for building a sustainable vision of natural resources management.

  • A tributary of the Amaime River, that drains into the Cauca River, one of the most important rivers of Colombia. Watershed located in the southest of the Department of Cauca Valley, in the Colombian Andes.
  • Area of 16,739 ha.
  • Altitude: 1,050 to 4,100 m.s.l.
  • Annual precipitation from 1,500 to 2,100 mm yr-1 with a bimodal rainfall pattern.
  • Nineteen tributary streams drain into the Nima River, and the average streamflow of the Nima river is 2 m3 s-1.
  • Sugar cane cropping system is intensive and uses supplemental irrigation during the dry season. There is a need to increase water use efficiency in this system.
  • The sector has supported the implementation of projects oriented to conserve water regulation functions of the high Andean ecosystems. Despite this, the watershed requires more efforts at conservation, restoration and sustainable use to balance hydrological, biophysical, and socioeconomic asymmetries that need to be addressed to maximize the water-related benefits provided by this watershed.
  • There is a need to explore other crop systems and agricultural management alternatives to reduce environmental impacts of agriculture in this watershed, and use efficiently water sourced by upstream areas.
  • Incentive mechanisms are required to align land use/management decisions in the watershed to common environmental and socioeconomic goals of actors in this watershed. One of the main goals is to secure future water supply for the human population at a first hand, and then to secure the availability of water for agriculture and industry (including the hydropower generation industry).
  • Municipalities of Palmira: Responsible for updating land use plans of its jurisdiction.
  • Asornima: Water users associations
  • Sugarcane sector (including sugarcane mills, Sugarcane Research Center (CENICANA), and sugarcane producers’ association (ASOCANA)); who have been managing a Water Fund to support the sustainable management of the water provision areas in the upper part of the watershed
  • Water Supply companies of Palmira
  • Emurfit Kappa –Cartón de Colombia, who have forest plantations for paper production
  • Upstream land tenants: small farmers set up in the upper region.
  • Regional Environmental Authority (CVC- Corporación Autónoma Regional del Valle del Cauca)
  • CELSIA: Private company for energy production.
  • Ex-ante impact evaluation of environmental (mainly on water-related) ecosystem services and economic benefits of the proposed Payment for Ecosystem Services scheme
  • Environmental diagnostic of the watershed that will be part of the formulation of the new Territorial Ordering Plan (‘POT’ from its name in Spanish).
    • The diagnostic includes current land use, suitable land use, biophysical characteristics, land use conflicts and causes of natural resources degradation, risks and threats, etc.
    • This diagnostic has to be contrasted with the desired future land use scenario for the watershed, a vision concerted with actors.
    • The diagnostic is an input to identify required actions and investments that can lead towards a concerted future vision of sustainability for the watershed.

Nima River Watershed pilot News

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