Chile has been experiencing a challenging drought for more than a decade. Last year, it declared an agricultural emergency in many areas, to be able to fast-track a series of relief measures for the agriculture industry.
An infrastructure deficit, affecting central and northern regions of the country, has hit a good part of Chile’s agricultural areas, reports Perishable News. Felipe Martín, from the consulting firm MAS Recursos Naturales, commented “There is a deficit in water infrastructure from the O’Higgins region to the north, and this deficit might extend this season or the next to the Maule, Ñuble and Bio Bio regions if the drought conditions don’t change”. He will be a moderator at the Agricultural Water Summit which will take place on August 26 in Chile.
Mr Martin warns that Chile is lacking investments that would allow the country to weather the current drought, unlike other countries such as Australia, the U.S. and Israel, which have invested in water storage, distribution and generation of new water sources with infrastructure that can be monitored remotely in real time. Thanks to them, seasonality can be managed, taking account of monthly flows and requirements for each area.
He highlighted particular projects, including nationwide reservoir and water distribution systems in Australia, water conveyance systems that stretch thousands of kilometres in California and Arizona, and artificial aquifer recharge with treated and desalinated water in Israel. He noted that such investments date from several decades ago, and in comparison, Chile is 50 years behind.