Senguer River Basin
Study Area
The southern part of Argentina called Patagonia is a steppe of over 1,000,000 km2 with
dry climate and very low population density (Fig. 1). All rivers crossing the Patagonia are
originated at the Andes and seldom have tributaries along their path towards the
Southern Atlantic Ocean. Only one river basin, the Senguer River basin (Fig. 1) has the
particularity of having a series of lakes which are distributed across the continent. The
Fontana, Muster and Colhué Huapi lakes and Florentino Ameghino Dam (Fig. 2) form a
continuity of ecosystems that can be employed to test the proposed hypothesis since they
are interconnected by the river but also are located at different places of a topographic
and climatic gradient. Furthermore, the lakes, in particular the Muster and Florentino
Dam, have strategic importance for the local and regional communities as they are the
source of water and energy, respectively, for most of the inhabitant of the center and
southern part of the Chubut Province. The objective of this study is to present a
preliminary study of precipitation and temperature related to topography in the study
area using a Geographic Information System and the Bioclim climatic model (Scordo et al,
2013).
Figure 1: Senguer River Watershed Location.
Figure 2: Fontana, Muster and Colhué Huapí Lakes and
Florentino Ameghino Dam location.
Population and main settlements in Senguer river basin
Population per department in the Senguer river basin:
Escalante department has the greatest population (186,583 inhabitants) and density (13.3
inhab/km²). Comodoro Rivadavia capital of the Chubut province is the main town of the
department. Despite not being inside the Senguer River basin this city is of great
importance, since most of the consumption water for the basin is use for the inhabitants
of this city. The second most populated (11396 people) and population density (0.8
inhab/km²) department is Sarmiento. Moreover Muster and Colhué Huapi lakes where
Senguer River concludes are located in this department. Río Senguer department has a
population of 5979 and a population density of 0.3 inhab/km². It has a great importance
as Lake Fontana is where the Senguer River rises (Table 1 - Figure 3).
DEPARTMENT
Province
POPULATION (inhabitants)
Tehuelches
Río Senguerr
Sarmiento
Escalante
Florentino Ameghino
Lago Buenos Aires
Chubut
Chubut
Chubut
Chubut
Chubut
Santa Cruz
5.390
5.979
11.396
186.583
1.627
8.750
Population Density
inhab / km ²
0,4
0,3
0,8
13,3
0,1
0,3
Table 1. Population per department in the Senguer River watershed
Source: INDEC, National Census of Population and Housing 2010.
Figure 3. Departments and main settlements in Senguer river watershed
Source: Shapes and Raster SIG250 Instituto Geográfico Nacional.
However, in some cases the population of each department is not representative of the
inhabitants living within the basin. To get a better idea of the population inside the basin
is better to analyze the main locations inside it: Sarmiento (8,028 inhabitants), Rio Mayo
2971 (people), Alto Río Senguer (1,454 inhabitants) (Figure 4).
Economic Activity:
Extensive sheep farming in the upper basin and oil development in the lower basin are the
most developed economic activities. Both require high water consumption. Other relevant
activities in the basin are mining and sawmills. Between Colhué Huapi and Musters lakes is
located the Sarmiento department. It is one of the southest world irrigation oasis. Fodder
(primarily alfalfa), fruit and vegetables are grown there (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Main locations and economic activities in Senguer River Basin.
Chubut province Economy Condition
No income data are available by departments or location, but at provincial level. In Chubut
province 94.5% of the economically active population is employed, and only 5.5%
unemployed (Table 2). Other data describing economic condition of the society of each
department is available: households with mains water and sewer, gas households,
households with refrigerators, households with a computer, etc.
Economy Condition
Age group
Population of 14
years old or
more años
Población económicamente activa
Total
Total
14
15-19
20-24
25-29
30-34
35-39
40-44
45-49
50-54
55-59
60-64
65-69
70-74
75-79
80 y más
Emplyed
Unemployed
Population non
economically active
373,659
257,985
243,572
14,413
115,674
9,641
44,670
40,950
41,951
42,951
35,631
29,719
28,221
25,095
21,508
17,004
12,781
9,415
6,737
7,385
1,663
15,574
30,890
34,661
36,691
30,647
25,710
24,105
20,711
16,210
10,476
5,448
2,851
1,538
810
1,621
13,251
27,181
32,334
34,955
29,482
24,883
23,369
20,111
15,761
10,194
5,317
2,804
1,507
802
42
2,323
3,709
2,327
1,736
1,165
827
736
600
449
282
131
47
31
8
7,978
29,096
10,060
7,290
6,260
4,984
4,009
4,116
4,384
5,298
6,528
7,333
6,564
5,199
6,575
Table 2. Chubut Province Economy condition
Chubut province Illiteratcy Condition
Sarmiento and Ecalante departments have a illiteracy rate between 1 and 4% of the total
population, while Río Senguer, Florentino Ameghino and Tehuelches, have a rate of
between 4.1 and 10% (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Chubut province Illiteratcy Condition
Source: INDEC, National Census of Population and Housing 2010.
Chubut province average water consumption
Family consumption (people)
- One
- Two
- Three
- Four
- Five
- Six
Source: (Boletín Oficial, 2009)
Consumption in liters per day (average)
720
1.100
1.350
1.500
1.800
2.000
Provincial Water Policy
Water is a public good and a unique, scarce and vulnerable resource that needs to be
properly managed to ensure their protection and proper use. In this regard and in the
context of a state policy , a Water Policy that provide unified and integrated management
tool where all the stakeholders and decision makers are direct involve, was established by
the Chubut Province government(Information of Chubut.gov/IPA).
The main objectives of water policy and basic guidelines according to which actions and
projects are developed are:
1 - Water resources preservation. Defend and preserve the resource, prevent waste and
pollution.
2 - Water resources valuation. Achieve greater efficiency of water use in production.
3 - Resource management democratization. Add all regional actors in the search for
consensus defining the PROVINCIAL WATER PROGRAM. This program involves strategic
planning to define water resources use. The Basin Committee for each territory is the
scope of this interaction. Basin Committees are legal entities entitled to act in the field of
public and private law , which are represented municipalities and communes, technical
agencies and representatives of all types of users that includes the Water Code ( human
consumption , agricultural , cattle , industrial, mining, energy , tourism and medicinal ) .
These will be fostered and advised by the Chubut Province Water Institute (IPA).
Water resources valuation
As part of it management IPA do different works, grouped with the following criteria:
- Defense and flood protection
- Cleaning, irrigation and drainage network extending works.
MODERNIZATION OF IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE (PROSAP) WORK
On draft Modernization and expansion of irrigation networks and drainage Sarmiento
Valley, is currently in pre-feasibility report and technical meetings with prospective
stakeholders and decision makers and potential channels users. PROSAP - Provincial
Agricultural Services Program is going forward with this project estimated to expand 3,400
new hectares , with an investment of nearly 30 million(Information of Chubut.gov/IPA).
Democratization
Basin committees
Chubut government as part of a state policy related to environmental resource has
promoted the creation of Basin Committees. These committees serve as instruments for
the development of the objectives of the provincial Water Policy: Preservation, Valuation
and Democratization . Are locally organized, as delegated authorities for each basin of the
province territory that seek to ensure the participation of the municipalities involved in
their specific jurisdiction " under Article 4 of the Water Code .
As Well all regional stakeholders must be integrated into the water governance. This is
done through representation on the Governing Council of a representative from each of
the nine types of users recognized by the Water Code, and a representative from the
scientific and technological community present in the basin.
Since the start of the current administration, necessary actions for the final conformation
of such committees across the province have been made . Thus the December 18, 2012,
XVIIN Act 13, which ratified the statutes of the Futaleufu River Basin, Chubut River Basin
and Senguer River Basin was approved.
In continuity with these actions, the conformation of government councils of each
Committee was required. Thus, the Governing Councils were formed at the beginning of
the 2013:
Senguer River Basin Committee:
- March 19, the Senguer River Basin Committee governing council was settled in the
Constituent Assembly carried out in the Rio Mayo settling.
Futaleufu River Basin Committee:
- March 26, the Futaleufu River Basin Committee governing council was settled in the
Constituent Assembly carried out in the Esquel town.
Chubut River Basin Committee:
- April 10, the Chubut River Basin Committee governing council was settled in the
Constituent Assembly carried out in the El Maitén settling town.
Statutes and next committee organization are agreed and awaiting legislative ratification.
These are the Puelo River basin, Rio Corcovado basin and Rio Pico basin (Information of
Chubut.gov/IPA).
Interjurisdictional Basin Committees.
Interjurisdictional Basin Committees are currently running for basins shared between
Chubut and Río Negro provinces. Those interjurisdictional Basins are COIRCHU for Chubut
River Basins, and ACRA for the Azul River Watershed. These Committees operate from
interprovincial agreements signed in September 2012. Both COHIRCHU as ACRA, try to the
consensus distribution and projection coordinated management of shared waters
(Information of Chubut.gov/IPA) .
Agreement with municipalities.
In order to regulate and manage the extraction of gravel from riverbeds and streams,
important agreements with the municipalities of Rio Mayo, Trevelin, The Maitén, Lake
Puelo, and others were signed. Considering the large amplitude of the province, IPA was
allowed to delegate to municipalities these works especially maintenance (Information of
Chubut.gov/IPA).
Provincial water court
Control the actions of the Basin Committee, and serves as the first court of appeal for the
actions taken by the IPA, or the committees in their role as water police are its
responsibility. It is conformed by Water Resources Manager and one representative from
each Watershed Committee (Information of Chubut.gov/IPA).
Institutional Information
LAW 5850 - CREATION OF IPA
THE LEGISLATURE of the CHUBUT PROVINCE SANCTIONS by Law
TITLE I - OBJECT AND POLICY.
Section 1-. This Act, in accordance with Article 101 of the Provincial Constitution, is to
establish the Provincial Water Policy and strengthen the governance of the water sector in
the area of Chubut Province, organizing and regulating government, administration, and
unified management tools and comprehensive instruments. All decision makers and
stakeholders interested must be involved in the surface and groundwater management
(Information of Chubut.gov/IPA).
Bibliography:
Scordo, F., Ferrelli, F., Piccolo, M.C. y Perillo, G.M.E. 2013. Preliminary Study of argentinian
patagonic lakes with GIS and Bioclim. Abstract GLEON (Global Lake Ecological Observatory
Network). G-15 4 al 8 de noviembre. Bahía Blanca, Argentina. Pp 28-29. Webpage:
http://www.gleonrcn.org/media/G15PosterAbstracts.pdf
http://www.indec.mecon.ar/
https://2mp.conae.gov.ar/index.php/materialeseducativos/coberturasvectoriales/522-sig-250-delinstituto-geografico-nacional
http://organismos.chubut.gov.ar/ipa/
Boletín Oficial de la Provincia de Chubut; Jueves 22 de
http://www.chubut.gov.ar/boletin/archives/pdf/Enero%2022,%202009.pdf
Enero
de
2009;
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Senguer River Basin Committee