Paute River Basin (Ecuador)

Water Users/ Stakeholders

The largest water user in the basin is irrigation, with combined demand from this sector exceeding 16 m3/s and is distributed in a large number of small projects. The irrigated areas are predominantly in the medium altitude areas of the basin and include crops such as corn, beans and fruit trees (sometimes in greenhouses) as well as flower production. Most of the small to medium size irrigation projects are very old and the irrigation techniques used are inefficient. Water in the dry season sometimes does not cover the demand for irrigation.

According to the Population and Housing Census carried out in 2001, average drinking water coverage is 96% and 54% in urban areas and rural areas, respectively (INEC, 2001). The provision for drinking water is 1.52 m3/s and 0.35 m3/s in the urban and rural sectors, respectively. These values are low compared to the available water in the basin.

There are two hydroelectric companies that operate within the basin: Elecaustro and Hidropaute.

  • Elecaustro is in charge of the Machangara hydrological complex located in the Machangara sub-basin. This complex is comprised of two dams (El Labrado and Chanlud) and two hydroelectric plants (Saucay, 24 MW; and Saymirín, 14.4 MW).
  • Hidropaute is in charge of the Paute Integral Hydroelectric Complex, which is one of the most important hydroelectric projects in Ecuador. The complex is located near to the outlet of the Paute River Basin and will produce 2,353 MW. It currently comprises of two dams (Mazar and Amaluza) and three hydroelectric plants (Mazar, 170 MW; Molino, 1,100 MW; and Sopladora, 487 MW). The last part of the complex is in final studies phase and consist of a dam and a hydroelectric plant called Cardenillo (596 MW). 



References and further reading:

Bendix, J., Rollenbeck, R., Göttlicher, D., and Cermak, J. (2006). Cloud occurrence and cloud properties in Ecuador. Clim. Res. 30, 133–147.

Buytaert, W., De Bièvre, B., Wyseure, G., and Deckers, J. (2004). The use of the linear reservoir concept to quantify the impact of changes in land use on the hydrology of catchments in the Andes. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 8, 108–114.

Buytaert, W., Célleri, R., De Bièvre, B., Cisneros, F., Wyseure, G., Deckers, J., Hofstede, R. (2006). Human impact on the hydrology of the Andean páramos
Earth-Science Reviews, 79 (1-2), pp. 53-72. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2006.06.002.

Buytaert, W., and De Bièvre, B. (2012). Water for cities: The impact of climate change and demographic growth in the tropical Andes. Water Resources Research, 48, W08503.

Campozano, L., Célleri, Ro., Trachte, K., Bendix, J., and Samaniego, E. (2016). Rainfall and Cloud Dynamics in the Andes: A Southern Ecuador Case Study. Advances in Meteorology.

Célleri, R., Willems, P., Buytaert, W., and Feyen, J. (2007). Space–time rainfall variability in the Paute basin, Ecuadorian Andes. Hydrological Processes, 21, 3316–3327.

Célleri, R., and Feyen, J. (2009). The hydrology of tropical Andean ecosystems: Importance, knowledge status, and perspectives. Mt. Res. Dev. 29, 350–355, doi:10.1659/mrd.00007.

Célleri, R., Buytaert, W., De Bièvre, B., Tobón, C., Crespo, P., Molina, J., and Feyen, J. (2010). Understanding the hydrology of tropical Andean ecosystems through an Andean Network of Basins. IAHS-AISH, 336, 209–212.

Coltorti, M., and Ollier, C.D. (2000). Geomorphic and tectonic evolution of the Ecuadorian Andes. Geomorphology 32, 1-19.

Consejo de Gestión de Aguas de la Cuenca del Paute, CG Paute (2008). Plan maestro de la Cuenca del Río Paute.

Hall, M.L., and Beate, B. (1991). El vulcanismo Plio-Quaternario en los Andes del Ecuador. El paisaje Volcanico de la Sierra Ecuatoriana. Estudios Geograficos, vol. 4, pp. 5–17

Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Cencos, INEC (2001). VI Censo de Población y V de Vivienda 2001, Resultados Definitivos, Resumen Nacional.

Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Cencos, INEC (2007). Proyecciones de la Población Ecuatoriana por Áreas y Años Calendario, según Provincias y Cantones Período 2001-2010.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC (2013). The Physical Science Basis.

Noblet, C., Lavenu, A., and Schneider, F. (1988). Etude géodynamique s'un bassin intramontagneux tertiaire sur décrochements dans les Andes du sud de l'Equateur: l'example du bassin de Cuenca. Géodynamique 3, 117–138.

Sierra, R. (1999). Propuesta preliminar de un sistema de clasificación de vegetación para el Ecuador continental. Proyecto INEFAN/GEF-BIRF y EcoCiencia. Quito, Ecuador.

Unidad de Manejo para la Cuenca del Río Paute, UMACPA (1995). Estudios Geomorfológico de la Dinámica de los Principales Procesos Erosivos y de Sedimentación de la Cuenca del Río Paute. Cuenca-Ecuador.

Vanacker, V., Molina, A., Govers, G., Poesen, J., and Deckers, J. (2007). Spatial variation of suspended sediment concentrations in a tropical Andean river system:  The Paute River, southern Ecuador. Geomorphology 87, 53-67.

Vuille, M., Bradley, R.S., and Keimig, F. (2000). Climate variability in the andes of Ecuador and its relation to tropical Pacific and Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies. J. Clim.  13, 2520–2535.

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