Chile: How we can adapt to a future without water?

In the second of a series of articles by our Youth Newsroom reporters, Isabella Villanueva from Chile writes about the state of water resources in her country.

Chile drying out
Chile drying out

Chile: How we can adapt to a future without water?

That Chile dries out is undeniable. I am from La Serena (a city in the north of the country) and I grew up watching our Puclaro Reservoir dry up (See image above). In 2013, it reached only 2% of its capacity.

The north of Chile is a rather desert-like part of the country. It rains little, if at all, and the landscapes are mostly brown. When I left school and went to study at a university in another city (further south, where it rains more and the landscapes are greener), I started to travel constantly between La Serena and Santiago. With each passing year I realized that the desert and brown landscape were moving further and further south.

The water crisis in Chile is a huge problem. It is a problem, but also a challenge for us as a society and a country. A fear that I have developed lately is not having water: to turn on the kitchen tap and not a drop of water comes out. How can we not be afraid of a future without water if we cannot live without it?

Chile is drying up. It is raining less and consuming more water, in addition to major water management problems. It is very possible that the scenario will not improve, that is why we have the challenge of adapting to a future with less water resources. But how can we achieve this? Young people play an important role here, because it is in our hands to manage a future (or present tomorrow) with less water and to ensure that everyone can meet their basic needs and human rights. The challenge today is training ourselves, and tomorrow, will be making better decisions.

That is why spaces like the Climate Adaptation Summit are fundamental for us. And I, as a young professional Chilean, dedicated to climate change issues, will seek not only to learn from this, but also to bring the reality of my country regarding the effects of the climate crisis to the discussion table, and in particular, on water resources.

Isabella Villanueva (Chile)