Working with the local, indigenous communities living in the Upper Cauca River Basin is key to our Colombian Collaboratory’s work. As part of ongoing collaborative research Hub colleagues have been conducting water monitoring with the campesino organisation ASOCAMPO. Field visits were made to the Las Piedras sub-basin; first to the ‘diviso’, the midpoint of the basin where the raw water intake is located and both fish and livestock farming take place; and second to the ‘road bridge’, the lowest point of the basin, where a large part of the population is located and crop farming takes place. A multiparameter probe was used to take measurements and obtain data on total suspended solids, pH, temperature, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. Water samples were taken for laboratory analysis, and macroinvertebrates were observed due to the seasonal increase in the river’s flow and strong current. Drones were also used for photogrammetry analysis of the riverbed and to establish some water quality parameters. 

Earlier this year the Colombia team held the first part of the newly formed Agroecology course, developed as part of one of the Hub’s Rapid Response Fund (RRF) projects. The first two modules of the course were delivered to 25 students based at the Institución Educativa Misak Mama Manuela in Silvia, and 30 members of ASOCAMPO in Popayán. The first module, ‘How are water-soil-territory interwoven?’, focused on exploring the concept of agroecology; identifying perceptions and values of participants on water, soil, and territory; and carrying out soil tests to develop understanding of the relationship between water, soil, and crops. The second module, ‘Internal agricultural inputs’, focused on nutrient cycling and the soil biome. Students explored soil with magnifying glasses, constructed anaerobic and aerobic compost systems, and determined current uses of agricultural inputs and identified other potential applications. Having had great success and feedback on the programme, the Colombia team will continue an extended version of the course in collaboration with the SHARE project, due to start in July.

Field work has started for the research strand investigating the domestic uses of water in homes in Cali. Following discussions with the Cali water utility company, EMCALI, and meetings with Aquasur and Aquanariño, 382 randomly selected blocks in Cali have been identified, and data collection is now underway. This household survey will provide the Colombia team with an idea of the different ways water is used in homes across all sectors of Cali. Take a look at the PUDA Project instagram account to find out more and follow the team’s progress. The project has also been featured in local newspapers

Recently it was the Colombia Collaboratory’s turn to host the latest instalment of the Hub’s webinar series, examining the nexus of climate change, adaptation, and water security with a focus on Colombia. As well as covering methodologies for climate change projections, limitations of climate models, and considerations for resilience and risk assessments, in this webinar our speakers also examine engaging with environmental authorities and building more sustainable water policies. Watch the webinar recording here

The Hub was invited to contribute to several sections in the latest FCDO briefing pack on water, highlighting research to address water security. Colombia’s Natalia Andrea Duque Achipz, one of our PhD researchers based at Universidad del Valle, was featured in the video interview series where she explains her research into wastewater treatment in Colombia. Watch her insightful video here

Lastly, Congratulations to Dr Yady Tatiana Solano-Correa, based at the University of Cauca in our Colombia Collaboratory team, on receiving the Remote Sensing 2021 Outstanding Reviewer Award. Remote sensing contributes and is important to many aspects of the Hub’s work, offering ways of building and improving on datasets, and gaining better understanding of our global water resources. 

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