Megaprojects to quench Lima’s thirst

Peru’s Housing Minister, Hernán Garrido Lecca, signed an agreement with the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) yesterday to fund two major water project and improve water supply in Lima — the world’s second largest desert city after Cairo. The $100 million development fund will underwrite a planned water treatment plant in Huachipa. The plant will produce five-cubic-meters of water per second from the Rímac river.

The agreement will also develop 16-miles of pipeline to transport water to Lima’s northern zone, where it will be stored in five reservoirs with a capacity of 2,000 to 13,000-cubic-meters. Officials say the projects will benefit 4 million people.

According to Sedepal, the State-run water company, the Huachipa treatment plant will have the capacity to increase future water production to 10-cubic-meters per second. It could then supply potable water to Lima’s southern zone. The project, which will go out for international bid in the coming days, is scheduled to be completed by December 2010.

Lima faces major challenges to its water supply, with the majority of its potable water coming from melting Andean glaciers that have lost 22 percent of their mass in the last three decades.

¨Peru is one of the most vulnerable country’s in the World to global warming,” Marco Zapata, director of the Glaciology and Freshwater Resources at INRENA, told La Republica. “Our mountain chain is tropical and that makes it especially vulnerable to high temperatures. By 2015, the majority of the glaciers, which lie under 5,500 meters, will disappear.¨

¨When the glaciers melt, where will future generations get their water?¨

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