Linking migration to community resilience in the receiving basin of a large-scale water transfer project

Anna Erwin, Zhao Ma, Ruxandra Popovici, Emma Patricia Salas O'Brien, Laura Zanotti, Chelsea A. Silva, Eliseo Zeballos Zeballos, Jonathan Bauchet, Nelly Ramírez Calderón, Glenn Roberto Arce Larrea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Large-scale water transfer projects (LWTPs) transfer water to urban and agricultural areas. The Majes-Siguas canal, established in 1983, is an LWTP that created a thriving agricultural area through irrigating the Majes district in the Atacama Desert of Peru. Like other LWTP receiving basins, the project has attracted an influx of migrants who work on the farms. At the same time, the Majes LWTP is the district's only source of water and has an aging infrastructure which presents significant risks. While many studies critically analyze the consequences of LWTPs in water supply basins, few evaluate the resilience of communities living in LWTP receiving basins. In this study, we ask: what factors stifle or enable resilience of the agricultural community in the Majes-Siguas receiving basin? In 2019, we conducted semi-structured interviews with migrant and residents and water authorities, collected and reviewed historical documents, and conducted participant observations. Using this data, we analyze community resilience by identifying perceived risks, stressors, and vulnerabilities among and between groups of agricultural actors, their adaptations, and their perceptions of water management organizations’ responses. Results show that a single source of water, differential vulnerabilities between groups of agricultural actors, and limited organizational responsiveness stifled community resilience, while communal pooling and self-organization enabled community resilience. Attention to increasing inclusion of migrants in water management decision-making, addressing differential water and land rights, and cultivating space for migrant self-organization could enable the agricultural community to be more resilient.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105900
JournalLand Use Policy
Volume114
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Arequipa Nexus Institute for Food, Energy, Water, and the Environment provided by the Universidad Nacional de San Agustín de Arequipa . We thank our research participants in the Majes district and the Purdue University Center for the Environment. We would also like to thank Gerardo Robinson Fernández Rosado and Pamela Noelia Mendoza Ramirez for their logistical support in Majes.

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Arequipa Nexus Institute for Food, Energy, Water, and the Environment provided by the Universidad Nacional de San Agust?n de Arequipa. We thank our research participants in the Majes district and the Purdue University Center for the Environment. We would also like to thank Gerardo Robinson Fern?ndez Rosado and Pamela Noelia Mendoza Ramirez for their logistical support in Majes.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Agriculture
  • Irrigation Project
  • Migrant farmworkers
  • Peru
  • Risk
  • Vulnerability

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