Mapping Ecosystem Services in an Andean Water Supply Basin
17 January 2023
Authors: Diana Marcela Ruíz Ordoñez, Yineth Viviana Camacho De Angulo, Edgar Leonairo Pencué Fierro, and Apolinar Figueroa Casas
Socio-ecological dynamics affect the ecosystem services supply and are relevant to generate effective water management strategies; this condition is considered to evaluate under a holistic approach, the water ecosystem services (WES) in an Andean supply basin (ASB) in Colombia. This analysis focus on the connection of biophysical and sociocultural components for the multi-purpose use of water based on The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) modelling for Las Piedras River Basin (LPRB). The generated Hydrological Response Units (HRUs), allow us to estimate the capacity of the basin for supplying water (quantity) in adequate conditions (quality) for local populations in rural and urban areas, as well as WES zoning. The model was calibrated and validated to generate a baseline scenario, which was complemented with social cartography and participative workshops. The results indicate a low concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus, boosted by specific agro-ecological strategies developed by local communities; however, there are health risks for populations downstream and those that are supplied with water directly from the source. Additionally, Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) affects water availability, which demands restoration and conservation strategies to maintain WES supply for socioeconomic and cultural purposes, since different views on the available WES converge in the basin. In this paper, we present an integrated analysis of the supply of water ecosystem services in a strategic Andean water supply basin in Colombia.