Ecuadoran water fund transforms consumers into conservationists

Ecuadoran water fund transforms consumers into conservationists

Manual Pintado spent the past 15 years raising cattle in El Pangui, a municipality nestled in south-eastern Ecuador´s Amazonian region. Now, he receives an income for leaving his 15 hectares (37 acres) of pasture to rewild and has moved down the valley to grow guanabana or soursop, a giant tropical fruit that’s spiky green on the outside with sweet, slimy white flesh on the inside. The land owned by Pintado and 14 other landowners is in El Pangui’s water catchment area. According to the Regional Water Fund of Southern Ecuador (FORAGUA), cities and towns in this part of the country have been experiencing water shortages due to rapid population growth and expanding land uses, such as farming and livestock grazing in catchment areas, resulting in significant deforestation and reduced water quantity, quality and continuity of supply. Forests increase total water supply by capturing horizontal precipitation directly from clouds and mist, and by acting like sponges, retaining and slowly releasing water to even out flow during the year so that relatively more water is available during the dry season. The impacts of poor forest management are being felt especially acutely in towns like Zaruma, population 24,000, on the drier western slopes of the Andes, which was typically receiving only two to four hours of water per day during the eight-month dry season. This has also been made worse by erratic rainfall patterns related to climate change. And cattle and other domesticated animals in these water catchment areas, as well as human…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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