Extractive industries and changing waterscapes in the Andes
An ESRC funded research project (RES-061-25-0446)
This research project aims to explore changes to lives, livelihoods and landscapes arising from the increased demand for fresh water resources by the expanding mining industry in the Andean region.
Meeting growing demand for water for mining is a key challenge because natural supplies are limited, most existing resources are in use and some sources are considered as sacred among indigenous people. The existing literature suggests that increased water demand for mining may put pressure on water sources used by Quechua and Aymara people for their basic needs, income-generating activities and customs; lead to the depletion, and contamination, of water sources far from the mines; result in the proposition of schemes to build large-scale hydraulic infrastructure to increase storage and transfers of water; influence political debates and proposals to reform legislation in order to address growing competition over water resources; and contribute to growing social tensions and conflicts over the use and governance of water resources.
Drawing on research in Peru, and case studies of mining areas in the south of the country where mining is established, under development or envisaged for the future, the project will investigate the different ways in which water is perceived, used, governed and contested among different stakeholder groups. By examining how the control of water is organised in relation to mining in Peru, we seek to shed light on the ways in which access to water, income-generating activities and environments become configured in particular ways in the Andean context.
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