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Area: 5888268 km2
Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
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City & Country

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $7,080,666,319.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $138,313,026.00 - [2%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $194,661,006.00 - [3%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $565,213,655.00 - [8%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $425,592,670.00 - [6%]
  • Water Scarcity: $4,576,774,909.00 - [65%]
  • Water Management: $1,180,111,053.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

Access to Water Supply and Water Services
Compliance with Local Regulations and Widely-Accepted Standards
Local Water Resource Governance
Physical water supply
Water Demand and Competition among Users

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES Chile is characterized by irregular distribution of rainfall totals among three distinct climate regions: the Atacama desert in the northern region, the temperate central region, and the cold and rainy southern region. The dry Atacama desert region receives an average of 44.5mm of precipitation annually, while the southern regions receive 3,000mm of annual precipitation on average. According to FAO, total average annual precipitation is 1,522mm, with an annual volume of 1,152km3. Of this total volume, 884km3 will run off while 268km3 will evaporate from rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Chile’s rivers are generally short, running from the Andes in the east to the Pacific in the west. The most important rivers in Chile are: the Loa in the northern Atacama desert, with a length of 420km the country’s longest river, which has suffered pollution from copper mining; the Baker in Patagonia, the country’s largest river in terms of discharge, which is the site of Chile’s largest planned hydropower plant with a capacity of 2,400MW; the Biobío, the country’s second-longest river, which became famous for the construction of the controversial Pangue dam in 1996; the Maule, in the central part of Chile, which is well known for its agriculture, including its irrigated vineyards; and the Maipo, which provides the capital, Santiago, with drinking water and is also a major source of water for irrigation. Usage of groundwater from aquifers in Chile is notably much less than usage of surface water. As of 1999, only 1.455km3 was pumped out of the aquifers that are recharged by Chile’s nine prominent watersheds. Chile has an artificial reservoir capacity of 4.66km3, of which 4.2km3 is stored behind large dams. Approximately 0.5km3 is stored behind smaller public works dams. A majority of the stored water in these reservoirs is located within three of the 15 regions: these three regions account for approximately 80 per cent of Chile’s artificial surface water storage. Chile has a large number of natural lakes with an approximate capacity of 7km3. The southern regions are home to numerous lakes and lagoons, some shared with Argentina. Population density is very low in southern Chile (0.1 to 0.6 persons/km2), so demand for water and development of water resources is minimal.

1.1.2.WATER USE In Chile, water is safe to drink, with ~99 per cent of water service providers complying with bacteriological and disinfection norms. In a 2006 report on water quality management in Chile, the authors reported that, in 2000, 99.1 per cent of the urban population and 72.3 per cent of the rural population had access to drinking water. Created in 1975, the National Commission on Irrigation (La Comisión Nacional de Riego (CNR)) is tasked with developing, improving and maintaining irrigation and drainage infrastructure in Chile. In 1992, the CNR estimated that approximately 18,000km2 of land was under irrigation, while total potential capacity for surface irrigation in Chile stood at around 25,000km2. Irrigated area in Chile accounts for 82 per cent of total cultivated area, while the remainder of agriculture uses rainwater. It should be noted that the CNR includes 7,300km2 of ‘eventual’ irrigated land in its figure of 18,000km2. Only 3 per cent of surface area in Chile is agricultural land, and this sector accounts for only 4.8 per cent of Chile’s GDP. Employment in the agricultural sector in 2005 stands at 13.2 per cent of the total labor force. The primary crops grown in Chile are grapes, apples, peaches, wheat, corn and oats. Most of Chile’s crops are grown in the central regions, considered the agricultural heartland due to their temperate growing climate. Dam capacity in Chile is roughly 4.66km3. Hydropower represents ~40 per cent of the total electricity production. This equates to approximately 4.8GW of annual hydropower production. In 1992, Chile extracted 63km3 of water throughout the country; of this total, 67.8 per cent was used to generate hydroelectric energy. In 2009, hydroelectric projects were being developed by two electric companies, Endesa and Colbún. The two companies formed a joint venture called HidroAysén. The Aysén project proposed to build five dams on the Baker river and Pascua river at a cost of US$4 billion, with an installed capacity of 2,400-2,750MW. The HidroAysén project has been opposed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Ecosistemas, the Citizen Coalition for Aysen Life Reserve, and Chilean celebrities. The opposition argues that the project would be environmentally devastating, lead to more destructive projects and ruin pristine ecosystems, and that alternatives such as conservation policies remain to be instituted.

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH Chile’s major environmental problems are the threat posed to natural resources by widespread deforestation and mining, air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions, and water pollution from raw sewage. Water quality is quite good in Chile, and the country is recognized for its outstanding water supply and sanitation systems. The National Commission of the Environment (CONAMA) set a goal of treating 95 per cent of wastewater by 2010. Water quality in Chile has steadily increased after the ‘right to live in a pollution-free environment’ was written into the 1980 Constitution. However, water pollution is still a concern. This is mostly due to point-source discharges of untreated domestic and industrial wastewaters. In the early 1990s, domestic and industrial wastewater discharge totalled approximately 43m3/s, with domestic contamination representing 56 per cent of this total and industrial effluent 44 per cent. Country Overview - Chile The problem was compounded by a lack of chlorination systems among water service providers. Therefore, 20 per cent of water service providers in 1991 did not comply with bacteriological norms. From its inception in 1990, the Superintendencia de Servicios Sanitarios (SISS) put greater effort into increasing the number of adequate chlorination systems. By 2006, improvements were made regarding chlorination systems and only 1 per cent of water service providers were noncompliant. Furthermore, compliance with disinfection norms increased from 89 per cent to more than 99 per cent in 2006 through a similar effort. Improvements have also been made in wastewater treatment over recent decades, after the National Commission of the Environment (CONAMA) set in motion a policy that has seen treatment programmes for raw domestic wastewaters increase to 80 per cent in 2006 and 95 per cent by 2010. CONAMA also sought to expand industrial wastewater treatment to 50 per cent of these discharges by 2006. As of 2006, non-point source pollution, mainly from agriculture, had not yet been quantified. In northern regions of Chile, point-source pollution from mining effluent is a problem. Because there is not much water in rivers, dilution of contaminants is greatly reduced. In central Chile industrial pollution is an issue. Very often these discharges go untreated directly into river basins, lakes and irrigation channels. Non-point source pollution from agricultural runoff, including nitrates from fertilizers and untreated sewage, is contaminating underground waters. The severity of the problem has yet to be thoroughly quantified.

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Organizations in Chile

Satisfacer de manera confiable tanto a la industria alimentaria como a consumidores finales en todo el mundo, ofreciéndoles frutas y verduras procesadas de calidad asegurada, elaboradas con los más altos estándares de mercado. Ser los mejores socios comerciales para nuestros … Learn More

Transformar la gestión del riego y el cuidado del agua a través de soluciones tecnológicas integrales. Nos enfocamos en tres pilares fundamentales: 1) maximizar la eficiencia hídrica en la agricultura sostenible, 2) facilitar la compra de créditos de compensación de … Learn More

Asegurar el acceso al agua de forma sostenible para el desarrollo humano, económico y ambiental, es nuestro propósito. Nuestra misión es desarrollar proyectos sustentables de agua para empresas, que generen impacto positivo en el negocio, en la eficiencia del recurso … Learn More

To create and implement innovative, environmentally friendly wastewater treatment and reuse solutions for any situation anywhere in the world. System O)) are various certified wastewater treatment solutions in terms of performance by the United States, Canada, Europe, and many others. … Learn More

Ecolab is the global leader in water, hygiene and climate technologies and services that protect people and vital resources. With 2019 sales of $13.5 billion and 50,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions and on-site service to promote safe food, maintain … Learn More

Nuestra misión es Learn More

Somos una corporación privada sin fines de lucro que fomenta innovaciones que “mueven la frontera de lo posible”. Nuestros socios son el Estado de Chile y BHP. En FCh generamos redes internacionales, entregando soluciones de alto impacto para abordar los … Learn More

Water is vital and complex. We simplify water by integrating leading technologies and a trusted team of experts into intelligent solutions, solving water for good. Learn More

Reshaping the value of water in food production. Learn More

Our purpose is to provide Better Care for a Better World. People around the globe benefit from our products in their day-to-day lives, but we know that millions still lack access to basic products that could dramatically improve their quality … Learn More

LAQI is an organization comprised of the leading companies and institutions of Latin America, rating them on issues of Quality and Sustainable Development. LAQI is based and run on the 40+10 actions and directives, and it respects the limits of … Learn More

Nuestra misión es satisfacer las necesidades de los consumidores que buscan alimentos saludables, prácticos, ricos y nutritivos, a través de la producción, venta y distribución de Frutas y hortalizas tanto en Chile como en el resto del mundo. Buscamos permanentemente … Learn More

Water Security Coalition for Chile/ WSCCh; Is a high-level, business-driven initiative that aims to accelerate water-focused climate action in Chile. With a collective goal of achieving water security in highly stressed basins, WSCCh promotes making Positive Water impact a standard … Learn More

Water stewardship has long been one of PepsiCo’s top priorities, and it's an important part of building a Positive Value Chain. As one of the first companies of our size to acknowledge water as a human right, we have a … Learn More

An agreement created in 2011 between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), FEMSA Foundation, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Climate Initiative (IKI), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to contribute to water security in Latin America and the Caribbean through … Learn More

Founded in 1883, Viña Concha y Toro is Latin America’s leading producer and occupies an outstanding position among the world’s most important wine companies, currently exporting to 140 countries worldwide. Viña Concha y Toro and its subsidiary companies integrate sustainability … Learn More

Ser una empresa de alimentos reconocida y preferida por nuestros consumidores y clientes, por la calidad y diversidad de nuestras marcas. Learn More

Projects in Chile

In 2020 TNC launched the Santiago-Maipo Water Fund that brings together private and public sectors to invest in long-term conservation to boost water security for the Maipo basin. This mechanism provides a platform that scales impact by linking conservation projects … Learn More

Actualizar sistema de transporte a uno que requiera menor uso de agua para lubricación. Se cambian pistas metálicas para el transporte de la fruta a un perfil UHMW (polietileno de ultra alto peso molecular), ayudando en la fricción y el … Learn More

Improve WASH access to communities in Coquimbo, in areas without access to water pipelines Learn More

Also includes Microsoft, Google, and BEF. Learn More

El proyecto consiste en la instalación de equipos de control, comunicación y sensorización necesarios para la supervisión continua de los caudales ingresados en los canales de riego, aguas abajo de la restitución del agua turbinada por las centrales hidroeléctricas. Los … Learn More

This project implements water stewardship practices, particularly water savings (by reducing demand) and nature-based solutions that will increase the water supply to the basin. Learn More

To promote the conservation and sustainable use of water resources in the Titicaca-Desaguadero-Poopó- Salar de Coipasa (TDPS) transboundary system, through the updating the Global Binational Master Plan.Project ResultsTBA Learn More

The Mariposas Hydroelectric Project consists of the construction and operation of a 6.3MW Run-Of-River hydropower plant. The Project uses the waters of the first section of the Maule Norte Alto canal, in the San Clemente commune to generate an average … Learn More

Recuperar sistema de alimentación de agua en líneas de producción. Cañerías de alimentación de agua a líneas de producción en mal estado y con filtración, presentan pérdida de agua constante durante el proceso. Debido a estos problemas, se habían instalado … Learn More

Optimizar el funcionamiento del estanque de acumulación de agua utilizado en procesos. Se cambian electroválvulas y sensores de nivel en el estanque que distribuye agua a canales de transporte de frutas, logrando una disminución en el uso de agua.Project ResultsSe … Learn More

Optimizar el uso de agua en la lubricación de equipos, de manera que se utilice agua solo cuando el equipo se encuentre en operación. Se instalaron electro válvulas que permiten el corte de agua de lubricación de las máquinas descarozadoras … Learn More

El equipo es un pre-cocedor de vegetales, consta de 3 etapas: pre-escaldado, escaldado y enfriado. El proceso de escaldado se realiza por aspersión de agua caliente y el enfriamiento por aspersión de agua fría. El agua caliente que se utiliza … Learn More

Proyecto consiste en instalar un sistema que permite reutilizar el agua de la cinta de enfriado previo a la descarga final hacia riles. Mediante la recirculación del agua se producirá una transferencia de calor del producto al agua, logrando una … Learn More

The water resources team at Minas Rio developed an operational water balance, hydrological model and simulations to predict water abstraction stoppage periods in the Peixe River during the dry season. The current contingency plan has been implemented comprising the acquisition … Learn More

The Group is committed to the progressive reduction of its water needs in all of its production processes, where possible promoting its internal reuse. Among the optimization interventions realized, in some coal-fired power stations the blowdown from the closed-circuit cooling … Learn More

The company has made investments in new irrigation technologies, seeking to be more efficient. In addition, the company managed its hectares of irrigation adapting to the amount of water available. We aim to continue improvement our drip technology in our … Learn More

La producción de leche en polvo requiere la extracción del agua de la leche líquida fresca. A partir del análisis de eficiencia hídrica efectuado, se desarrolló el proyecto de recuperación y reúso del agua extraída de la leche, llamada “Agua … Learn More

Maquinaria diseñada para automatizar el proceso de lavado de bandejas industriales de diferentes tamaños y formas. El equipo consiste en cuatro estaciones de lavado a presión donde se remueve toda materia extraña y restos de producto. Cada estación está provista … Learn More

This proposal outlines an intended partnership between Coca-Cola’s South Latin Business Unit and TNC, to contribute towards water security collaboratively by investing in watershed management activities and the development of collective action mechanisms in the source watersheds of four cities … Learn More

Disponer de una nueva fuente de agua para el desarrollo de la comunidad Estación Polpaico. Biotreat® es un sistema pasivo de tratamiento de aguas residuales, el cual consiste en un humedal artificial que combina procesos de tipo físico y biológico … Learn More

Electrolux tracks and follows water consumption on a monthly basis, and has implemented a water best practice toolbox. Electrolux has carried out a water risk study based WWFs water risk filter, to identify sites where water shortages pose risks to … Learn More

Our response strategy required investing in new irrigation control technology, as well as training our winery and farm personnel in water management best practices, all in order to improve the efficiency of our water usage. Project Results Improved water efficiency. Learn More

Our response strategy required investing in new irrigation control technology, as well as training our winery and farm personnel in water management best practices, all in order to improve the efficiency of our water usage. Project Results Improved water efficiency. Learn More

Our response strategy requires investing in new irrigation control technology, as well as training our winery and farm personnel in water management best practices, all in order to improve the efficiency of our water usage. The response strategy has enabled … Learn More

Our response strategy required investing in new irrigation control technology, as well as training our winery and farm personnel in water management best practices, all in order to improve the efficiency of our water usage. Project Results Improved water efficiency. Learn More

This project aims to increase agricultural water use efficiency and productivity, reduce water demand, and protect mainly superficial and groundwater in the Maipo Basin; this has been possible in partnership with corporations that has water stewardship goals. A farmer's retention … Learn More

In 2020, the Global Power Generation launched the WaVE (Water Value Enhancement) project with the aim of mapping needs and water withdrawal sources in all of its thermal and renewables production sites in order to set new objectives to reduce … Learn More

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