Argentine water infra strategy absent when needed most

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Argentine water infra strategy absent when needed most

Argentina is lacking a coordinated water infrastructure plan despite rising losses in its agriculture sector due to climate change, while large projects pushed by some officials have not been able to advance, an expert argued.

“There’s no integral development of a water infrastructure plan that aims to solve the problem of droughts and floods,” Esteban Thomasz, head of the climate change socio-economic vulnerability evaluation program at the University of Buenos Aires, told BNamericas.

Thomasz said most of the investments are carried out by the federal government, and even when provincial authorities do invest, these are mostly funded by the central administration.

This has not translated into a coordinated strategy to face climate change. Instead, there have only been a series of announcements of large projects with no overall strategy, he said.

“I’ve seen both pharaonic [excessively big] and very interesting projects, but they were only proto-projects. None of them advanced enough,” Thomasz said during an agriculture vulnerability webinar held by the university.

The university’s ProVul program, which Thomasz leads and is designed to assess the socio-economic impacts of climate change in the country, estimates that droughts left US$24bn in agriculture-related losses between 2003 and 2018.

Drought problems are not limited to agriculture, as seen with the emergency declared over the low levels of the Paraná river, which is part of the Paraná-Paraguay waterway that handles around 80% of Argentina’s exports.

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