The General Water Directorate (DGA) of Chile proposed for 2019 an ambitious program that will allow the development of Strategic Plans in all the river basins of the country’s rivers. These plans will have key audiences such as the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, water user organizations, regional governments, and private companies; actors that are related to efficient water management and adaptation measures to the effects of climate change.

The Strategic Plans of Watersheds will aim to assess the quantity and quality of water resources, both surface and underground, necessary for all activities and uses, prioritizing human consumption, and ensuring a sustainable use of the resource in order to meet the needs of Current and future generations.

Each Basin Plan will have a consistent analytical base, through the development of a hydrological model that will support the analysis of development strategies, in order to make decisions based on the best available information. In addition, this tool can be constantly updated with the information and scenarios that users and institutions want to evaluate.

Thus, the DGA, together with the Directorate of Scientific and Technological Research of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (DICTUC) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), will develop a modelling tool through WEAP in five pilot basins that will serve as a basis for the later development of the Strategic Plans of Watersheds. The pilot basins are Copiapó, Limarí, Choapa, Petorca, Ligua.

Choapa River, Chile. Photo by: Nelson Contardo/Flickr

Methodology and Activities

The main objective of this project is to develop an operational model in WEAP for each pilot basin, integrating the underground MODFLOW models to the existing surface ones.

The final product will be a WEAP model that is coupled to the outputs (runoff, recharge) and inputs (climatic series) of other previously developed surface models and MODFLOW models that represent the dynamics of groundwater flows for each of the study basins . The main information gaps and the main items to be improved in future watershed plans will be detailed so that the tools generated in this project meet the primary objective proposed by the DGA.

The activities to be carried out are:

1. Information gathering.
2. Definition of methodology by basin.
3. Generation of WEAP model in basins without current model and migration of hydrogeological models platform
4. Model coupling.
5. Development of improvements in basin modeling software nationwide
6. Calibration and Validation
7. Analysis of information gaps and recommendations for future watershed plans.