The Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies solicits submissions to a special issue on 'Integrating Water Resources Research and Management in the Central and South American Andes,' guest-edited by MRI Co-PI and Conéctate A+ Co-Head Christian Huggel and Conéctate A+ Associate Partner Fabian Drenkhan.  

Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, University of Florida, USA

Guest Editors
Fabian Drenkhan, University of Zurich, Switzerland | Imperial College London | Pontificia Univ. Católica del Perú
Christian Huggel, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Natalia Hoyos Botero, Universidad del Norte, Colombia
Christopher Scott, Pennsylvania State University, USA

About this Special Issue
In the Andes and adjacent downstream areas of Central and South America, water plays a fundamental role for large populations, indigenous and traditional cultures and highly diverse ecosystems. Water resources in the region are largely affected by severe impacts from climate change, land use and land cover changes, and other human disturbances. Central America represents one of the most affected regions by increasing extreme events such as flood and drought. Rapid loss of glacier extent in the tropical and Central Andes in combination with a decline in seasonal snow cover in the Southern Andes lead to a point at which river runoff reduces and increasingly becomes unreliable. At the same time, surface water quality might diminish in some deglaciating catchments with recently exposed sediments or due to increasing human activities. With ongoing glacier retreat and permafrost degradation, water-related risks also emerge from destabilizing mountain flanks and over-steepened rocks and ice. Rock falls, ice detachments or snow avalanches might increasingly reach rapidly developing lakes and trigger lake outburst floods that affect growing downstream populations and assets. In addition, the Andean countries are characterized by increasing water demand due to population growth, intensifying irrigation practices and hydropower extensions.

This complex situation raises serious concerns about current and future water security and the sustainable management of water resources in a region under increasing hydroclimatic and socioeconomic pressure. In the past, traditionally centralized and engineer-dominated water management was characterized by extending the water supply system including large infrastructure projects with serious social-ecological implications in Central and South America. Over the last decade, these countries have shifted their water regimes towards a more polycentric, participatory, decentralized and adaptive management of water resources through new policies, water legislations and local initiatives. Some innovative examples include the implementation of water funds, rewards for ecosystem services and nature-based solutions, in combination with citizen science projects and joint-knowledge production.

However, evidence on the respective progress and success of adaptive water management and increasing resilience of social-environmental systems is scarce. In many catchments, limited data availability on both catchment hydrology and socioeconomic development as well as insufficient water modelling efforts hamper an improved process understanding, and thus represent an important barrier to evidence-based adaptation. More research is urgently needed that includes integrative and systematic analyses of current and future water availability, risks and security in combination with improved data collection strategies and modelling efforts.

For this Special Issue we welcome original contributions at site-specific, catchment and regional scales, and review papers that provide new insights on water resources research and management in the Andes region including adjacent downstream areas. In particular, we encourage interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary studies including, but not limited to:

  • Upstream-downstream perspectives including key components of the terrestrial water cycle, water use and consumption, and water management
  • Water quality, salinity, fate and transport
  • Groundwater, recharge, surface-groundwater interactions
  • Wetlands (e.g. páramos, bofedales, ciénagas)
  • Peak water and links to socioeconomic development
  • Sectoral water uses (e.g. hydropower, irrigation, urban supply)
  • Coupled models of water supply and demand including future scenarios
  • Water-energy-food nexus
  • Crowdsourced, citizen science approaches
  • Integration of indigenous knowledge and local knowledge
  • Risk- and scenario-based future assessments
  • Natural infrastructure and nature-based solutions
  • Successful adaptation, adaptation limits, maladaptation
  • Transformational adaptation

Submission instructions
The submission system will be open around one week before the first paper comes in. When submitting your manuscript please select the article type “VSI: Andean Water Management”. Please submit your manuscript before the submission deadline.

All submissions deemed suitable to be sent for peer review will be reviewed by at least two independent reviewers. Once your manuscript is accepted, it will go into production, and will be simultaneously published in the current regular issue and pulled into the online Special Issue. Articles from this Special Issue will appear in different regular issues of the journal, though they will be clearly marked and branded as Special Issue articles.

Please see an example here:

Please ensure you read the Guide for Authors before writing your manuscript. The Guide for Authors and the link to submit your manuscript is available on the Journal’s homepage.

Important Note
All contributions to this Special Issue must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements.


Image by Marco Torrazzina.

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