The Champion Who Identified Innovative Opportunities in Honduras
Jefferson Valencia, research hydrologist at CIAT, is a champion of science for advancing the development of technologies to facilitate the proper handling and management of water resources in Honduras, especially in areas affected by recurring droughts.
Given the concerns about the potential consequences of climate change on temperature and rainfall patterns, and therefore on the conditions to perform agricultural activities, particularly in rainfed systems, Valencia and a team of experts from the Agroecosystems and Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) Research Area developed AGRI (Spanish acronym for AGua para RIego: Water for Irrigation). This is the first geospatial tool which scans around a site where water resources are required, to find surface water sources using satellite images, mathematical models, software, and digital mapping in its internal identification processes.
The tool seeks to identify feasible sites to harvest water from rivers or to store rainwater or runoff water in earthen reservoirs. Moreover, it allows for the delimitation of the drainage area of a feasible site, as well as a pathway to bring water by gravity from the source site to the place where it needs to be used. Therefore, with the valuable information provided by AGRI, decision makers and the communities benefiting from its use can assess potential sites and make a final decision regarding the site where the resource will be taken, which proves its usefulness in decision-making and water management in the country.
Other technology implemented in Honduras by the ASL team was the Honduras Water Platform, which provides communities with information from hydrological analyses, combining them with information from present and futures climate scenarios, plant cover, and water demand to support decision-making on water resource at micro-basin, sub-basin, and basin levels.
This combines scientific methods, information on climate, hydrometry, hydrographic delimitations, soils, plant cover, water demands, and digital technology. This initiative was developed for six departments of western Honduras (Copán, Intibucá, Lempira, La Paz, Ocotepeque, and Santa Bárbara) within the framework of the Inter-Institutional Co-operation Agreement between CIAT and the Secretariat for Natural Resources and the Environment (MiAmbiente+), with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Honduras.
The largest impact of these technologies is a country well prepared to use and manage its water resources properly with an efficient empowerment of platforms by local and national stakeholders.Jefferson Valencia
In the light of the results achieved by Valencia and his team, AGRI and the Honduras Water Platform have been awarded recognitions by CIAT and other international organizations.