Adapting to Climate Change in Peru's Mantaro Valley

June 20, 2016

The Mantaro Valley in central Peru is highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and frost. According to recent projections, this vulnerability will increase in coming years due to climate change.

The Instituto Geofísico del Perú (Peruvian Geophysics Institute), in the Ministry of Environment, has assessed the vulnerability of rural and urban settlements in the valley. Through several multidisciplinary studies, the Institute identified the level of risk that extreme weather events pose to the valley's population and public infrastructure. The findings have led the Institute to recommend Disaster Risk Management as the main strategy for inhabitants to become more resilient and adapt to climate change. By analyzing the factors that cause natural disasters they can reduce exposure to hazards, lessen the vulnerability of people and property, and improve preparedness for adverse events.

Agriculture is the valley's main economic activity. Its farmers supply produce — such as potatoes, beans, corn, and vegetables — and dairy products to Peru’s major coastal cities, including Lima, the nation's capital. As approximately 70-75% of agriculture is rain-fed, crop production is particularly vulnerable to drought and frost. Researchers also found out that the Huaytapallana Glacier — which provides potable water to Huancayo, the valley's main city — has reduced its surface area by nearly 60% between 1976 and 2006.

The results of this research have been published in a two-volume book. Volume I analyzes the physical causes of the valley's extreme weather events and climate. Volume II examines the vulnerability of those who are exposed to these events.

The book reports on the research results of an IDRC-supported project, Enhancing resilience of rural communities to reduce impacts of droughts, floods and frost in the Mantaro Valley, Peru – MAREMEX.

Download the book (in Spanish)