On April 11, the Permanent Secretariat of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (PS/ACTO) jointly presented their PIF (Project Identification Form) proposal with United Nations Environment Program (UNEF) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to the Global Environment Facility (GEF-8). “Towards a Better Understanding of the Amazonian Aquifer Systems for their Protection and Sustainable Management,” which has been approved by the Fund Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to promote the governance and sustainable management of the Amazon aquifer systems.
The proposal was developed jointly with the eight member countries of ACTO: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela; who showed their support and commitment to this important regional project through eight letters of endorsement. The proposal also had the support of the implementing agencies of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The approved proposal is for $US 15 million.
The demand for water in quantity and quality has increased in the Amazon basin region and, despite the large volume of surface water in the region, all the countries use groundwater extensively as an alternative source of safe water. Groundwater is threatened mainly by uncontrolled exploitation, pollution (urban and from economic activities), and the effects of climate change, which affects the water quality, aquifer levels, recharge, and changes in groundwater regimes.
Groundwater in the Amazon basin plays an important role in the ecologic and hydrologic cycles, and greatly influences the rainforest ecosystems and climate variability, especially during the dry season.
The project seeks to promote a common understanding of the Amazon aquifer systems to strengthen existing regional governance and integrated management of groundwater for its protection and sustainable use, and thus improve water security and ecosystem resilience in the Amazon region.
This project is expected to generate direct environmental and water supply benefits for approximately 2,255 direct beneficiaries involved in the pilot projects and also to achieve 3,650 people under improved sustainable practices and aquifer protection, under a collaborative management approach – for the Amazon basin, understanding the Amazon aquifer as an integrated system.