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Preparing for floods on Argentina's Pampas

May 4, 2016

Over the past 50 years, floods and drought have severely affected lives and livelihoods across the Western Argentinean Pampas, a vast plain of cropland and pasture. Climate change is expected to bring more frequent extreme weather events to the region. On the one hand, drought years are likely to harm agricultural and wetland areas. Floods, on the other hand, may damage crops but have positive impacts on wetland wildlife. 

This research explored the interaction between groundwater and surface water bodies in the flooding Western Pampas. In this paper, the authors describe the dynamics of the flooded area, including water-table depth, water storage, and precipitation throughout a flooding cycle. They analyze the groundwater depths and rainfall databases of more than 20 sites spread across 28,000 square kilometres, using various remote sensing techniques. The research suggests that an early warning system drawing on rainfall data as well as groundwater and surface water information would improve the prediction and management of floods on the Pampas.

This article, featured in the May 2011 issue of Ecohydrology, describes research results from a project supported by IDRC through its Climate Change and Water program, Land Use, Biofuels and Rural Development in the La Plata Basin. The project was led by the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

You'll find more results from this project listed below.