In Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), climate change is negatively impacting water resources, agriculture, and ecosystems. Rising temperatures are altering hydrological cycles, affecting crop productivity and biodiversity, and causing more frequent and extreme weather events. Andean glaciers, a vital source of fresh water for tens of millions of people, are under severe threat. Downstream communities depend on shrinking glaciers for drinking water, agriculture and hydropower, but there is no scientific consensus on downstream impacts. Policymakers, researchers and water resources managers across the LAC region urgently need help in linking the best climate science on glaciers to water management decisions.

To meet these challenges, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has developed the Partnering for Adaptation and Resilience – Agua (PARA-Agua) Project, an initiative that brings together scientists, decision-makers, and communities across the region to strengthen resilience to climate change through better understanding of climate impacts on key water resources.

Under PARA-Agua, AECOM works with target watersheds across the region to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of the research community to generate policy-oriented data on watershed management and climate change adaptation;
  • Mainstream and integrate climate data into decision-making related to watershed management; and,
  • Strengthen planning systems that optimize water use over the whole length of watersheds in the context of climate change adaptation.

PARA-Agua aims to improve regional and global understanding of climate change impacts on water shed functions, while developing new climate change adaptation tools, establishing new regional networks, and engaging communities and marginalized groups.