Rapel Basin (Central Chile)

Authors: Silvia Krautzik & Daniel Knopp

The Rapel River Basin is located in Central Chile's VI Region, also known as Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins Region. The water resources of the river system are vital for the agricultural sector, mining activities, and hydropower generation in the basin. However, the basin is extremely vulnerable to climate variability and change, which challenges the region's water security (Rojas et al., 2020).

Since 2010 a Megadrought has significantly affected the water availability in central Chile (Garreaud et al., 2019).

In general, the Mediterranean climate enables farmers to produce high-value cash crops such as wine, table grapes, and other fruits in the valley of the Rapel Basin (Ministerio de Obras Públicas, 2012). However, agricultural production has led to severe soil erosion and diffuse pollution in the basin (Novoa et al., 2019).

In addition, the overallocation of water rights for the exploitation of groundwater resources is increasing the pressure on the basin's water resources (Valdés-Pineda et al., 2014).

The combination of droughts, water scarcity, the dominance of water-intensive key industries, and potential contamination challenge the basin's water security. As a result, there is a strong interest in improving the knowledge of hydrological processes under climate variability and climate change.



Garreaud, René D.; Boisier, Juan Pablo; Rondanelli, Roberto; Montecinos, Aldo; Sepúlveda, Hector; Veloso‐Äguila, Daniel (2019). The Central Chile Mega Drought (2010‐2018): A Climate dynamics perspective. International Journal of Climatology, joc.6219–. doi:10.1002/joc.6219

Ministério De Obras Publicas (MOP) (2012): Estratégia Nacional de Recursos Hídricos 2012 – 2025. Available at: https://www.mop.cl/Documents/ENRH_2013_OK.pdf [Accessed 26.08.2021].

Novoa V.; Ahumada-Rudolph, R.; Rojas, O.; Sáez, K., Barrera, F.; Arumí, J.L. (2019): Understanding agricultural water footprint variability to improve water management in Chile. In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 670 (2019), pp. 188–199, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.127

Rojas, R.; Bennison, G.; Gálvez, V.; Claro, E.; Castelblanco, G. (2020): Advancing Collaborative Water Governance: Unravelling Stakeholders’ Relationships and Influences in Contentious River Basins. In: Water, Vol.12(2020), pp. 1-25, doi:10.3390/w12123316

Valdés-Pineda, R.; Pizarro, R.; Garcia-Chevesich, P.; Valdes, J.B. (2014): WATER governance in Chile: Availability, management and climate change. In: Journal of Hydrology, Vol.519(C), pp. 2538–2567, doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.04.016



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