POWER BLACKOUTS IN SOUTH AMERICA
Better management of water shortages for the energy sector to improve livelihood in South America
The mega-droughts in 2015/2016 in tropical South America and in 2010-2015 in Chile showed an intensity not seen in at least the last 100 years . Climate change projections show that these mega-droughts could get worse within the next decades. These changes heavily affect the water, energy and food security nexus, which in turn affects the livelihood of millions of people in several regions of South America. Suitable hydro-climatic information at the scale of seasonal forecasts and of future climate are crucial to improve risk management and plan climate adaptation respectively. Client-tailored hydro-climatic indices will help the stakeholders in the region to make better decisions.
CASE STUDY DESCRIPTION
Issue to be addressed
The water, energy, food security nexus in South America is in transition as renewable energy production mainly from hydropower is increasing, urbanization is accelerating, and climate change is impacting water availability. Energy from hydropower and its transport to the customers are impacted by droughts. Critical trade-offs in water use already took place in the past. For example, during the mega-drought of 2015/2016, blackouts were planned in Colombia and Brazil, that led to the introduction of a 'drought' extra fee on electricity price. As climate change affects water supply, water crisis are expected to become more severe in the future. Therefore, knowledge about water availability on seasonal and climate time scales, is of utmost importance for water management and adaptation planning.
Decision support to client
The Servicio Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología del Perú (SENAMHI) and Instituto de Hidrología, Meteorología y Estudios Ambientales (IDEAM), our clients, are expected to present to the governmental institutions solutions for the energy sector and its nexus. Decisions like the rationing of electricity, the surcharge of electricity prices and water rights for water dependent stakeholders (energy sector, agronomy, mines, industry and drinking water supply) are depending on the availability of water resources. To support the decision making, Meteodat will provide its clients with tailored climate impact indicators (CIIs), in particular effective precipitation that takes into account precipitation and evapotranspiration, to inform them on water availability on seasonal and climate time scales.
Temporal and spatial scale
The respective adaptation measures shall be realized within the next 20 to 50 years.
The typical geographical scale is a catchment between some hundreds and some thousands km2.
Representatives of Meteodat are traveling to the Andes regions about once to twice a year, face-to-face meetings with clients being the best instrument to understand their needs and to transfer knowledge. Moreover, courses about climate change, seasonal forecast and climate based index instruments in Latin America and in Europe are proposed by Meteodat representatives, that give them a good overview of their clients’ understanding of these topics.