Sustainable Development and Territorial Planning. Application to the national water problem

Sustainable Development and Territorial Planning. Application to the national water problem

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By Diana Duran

The water environmental problem has been studied in an interdisciplinary way by numerous scientists and technicians, but the results of these studies and also of the hydraulic and agricultural technological proposals have not been sufficiently valued in political-environmental management when decisions are made in each disaster. or later to them.

"Just as spatial planning is the best tool for compliance with environmental policy, water management is the best aid to achieve it" (Azpurúa, 1990).

Sustainable development and spatial planning

Sustainable or sustainable development has been at the center of the environment-development debate towards the end of the century. The notion, which was the conceptual axis of the UNCED in 1992, has its most important antecedent in the "eco-development" that was formulated in Stockholm in 1972 as development compatible with environmental preservation. It is not a theory of development or a growth model, but a new approach that is essential to apply in spatial planning.

Sustainable according to the most widespread definition is a development "that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (Nuestro Futuro Común, 1987). It includes, then, intergenerational law, a new issue, not yet specified in terms of planning or included in its most modern tools (such as Environmental Impact Assessment).

In its most complete definition, sustainable or sustainable development is "a process of social change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional reforms are carried out harmoniously, expanding the potential current and future to satisfy human needs and aspirations "(Nuestro Futuro Común, 1987).

In short, it is a complex concept that incorporates principles of sustainability, each of which is applicable to the different modalities of the nature-society relationship.

• Ecological sustainability requires that development be compatible with the maintenance of ecological processes, biological diversity and the resource base.
• Social sustainability requires that development aim to strengthen the identity of communities and to achieve demographic balance and the eradication of poverty.
• Economic sustainability demands that development be economically efficient and equitable within and between generations (Carrizosa Umaña, 1993)

And the geographical sustainability? ...

Although there is consensus in international forums on the importance and dimensions of this concept; the reality is that its application at different geographical scales, especially at the national, regional and local scales, is still very incipient. Furthermore, according to our criteria, there is an undervaluation of the territorial dimension that can have negative consequences in planning sustainable development.

The "World Resources Report - 1992", prepared by the UNDP (United Nations Development Program), "focuses on sustainable development as a process that requires simultaneous global progress in various dimensions: economic, human, environmental and technological ". As can be seen, the geographical dimension is ignored in its specifically territorial meaning, since the environmental dimension is naturally explicit.

In the environmental dimension, sustainable development promotes the protection of natural resources necessary for food and energy production, at the same time as the expansion of production to satisfy growing populations. In this way, an attempt would be made to overcome the environment-development dichotomy, which is not an easy aspect judging from the environmental impacts of neoliberal economic models in the world.

In geographical terms, sustainable development has different interpretations for an African village, a Latin American agglomeration or a European industrialized nation. Perhaps sustainable development is more relevant to an industrial state and less to an African village and has unknowingly been practiced by pre-Columbian cultures. What is certain is that the possibilities of access to sustainable development are still utopian in our country.

Another affirmation of the Report mentioned is that there are no examples of sustainable development at the national level. Neither the industrial countries nor the emerging economies of Southeast Asia offer adequate models. One of the reasons we maintain in this work is that its geographical dimension in terms of land use planning has not yet been considered.

So what is the viability of sustainable development in the face of macroeconomic policies with extremely high negative environmental and territorial impacts in our country?

The way to balance the current model of "unsustainable underdevelopment" (Di Pace et al, 1992) is through the insertion of the environmental dimension and the territorial dimension in politics, aspects that are insufficiently relevant in Argentina today where there is an environmental discourse. but not a true environmental policy.

The geographer Juan A. Roccatagliata (1) has identified six areas of action (2) to the natural system and its associated resources, including the territorial orientations or guidelines that, within this area, are:

• Promote an integrated management of the environment and its resources and
• Recover degraded environments:
* Control of the deterioration and environmental recovery of the region of the Patagonian plateaus and the mountain ecotone.
* Proper management of droughts and floods in the Pampean plain.
* Adequacy of land use and activities in fragile, humid, sub-humid and dry subtropical environments.
* Control and recovery of critical areas in the arid region of Argentina.
* Protection and planned management of protected areas (reserves and national parks) with their genetic banks, achieving an advance of the system on relevant unprotected ecosystems.
* Integrated management of water resources, controlling the differential uses of the same resource.
* Creation of a system for the analysis, prevention and control of natural disasters.
* Management of coastal environments (littoral strips), with their surrounding maritime spaces and resources.

As it is possible to appreciate, water resources are very strategic and decisive in the territorial planning of our country.

According to our criteria, the geographical dimension of sustainable development implies the harmonious progress of the different spatial / environmental systems, reducing the disparities and dysfunctionalities of the territory, in addition to promoting its potential and limiting vulnerabilities. The territorial dimension in government action and management constitutes a globalizing vision of development, a horizontal cut in the integration of the different sectors and government levels. "The final objective of land use planning is to achieve a harmonious relationship between the environment and human settlements with the purpose of reducing regional inequalities and achieving a socially balanced development, respecting the natural environment" (Durán, et al, 1993).

To achieve this objective, it is necessary to think that the man-environment relationship is not defined through macro generalizations but on a scale of immediate relevance, of life. It is the local scale and its integration into the regional scale, a fundamental organizing principle that requires autonomy of decisions. (Sandner, Gerhard. 1994)

Application of geographic sustainability criteria to the management of water resources
The criteria of geographic sustainability are concepts that link nature and society in their territorial manifestation. They are evaluations that will make it possible to apply the sustainable development approach in spatial planning.

The sustainable development approach colors the use of water resources as it means "the conservation of water, by eliminating its uneconomic use and improving the performance of aquifer systems" (UNDP, 1992). It must also include the restoration of disturbed water systems.
The reality is that environmental problems linked to water resources are multiple and complex.

Environmental problems linked to water resources. According to Cano (1990)
A. Quantitative (affect the amounts of water available)
a) Depletion due to overuse of lentic and lotic environments - including wetlands (3)
b) Sensitive decrease in flow, due to evaporation or infiltration.
c) Transfers to other basins to the detriment of the original basins.
d) Reduction or depletion of aquifers due to overexploitation.
e) Alteration of the local hydrological cycle by injection of water into the subsoil for oil or gas exploitation.
f) Elimination or reduction of the water resource in the atmosphere, by anthropic action (overexploitation of lakes, example: Titicaca)
g) Alteration of natural water runoff due to human action (operation of dams, installation of ports, supply for consumption, canalization, etc.)
h) Floods whose speed or permanence damages other man's assets.
i) Natural or anthropic ice ablation (by greenhouse effect)
B. Qualitative (they affect the quality of the water, making it unavailable for certain uses)
a) Physical, chemical, biological or thermal contamination.
b) Salinization and acidification of fresh waters.
c) Sedimentation
d) Eutrophication.
e) Intrusion of brackish waters into fresh waters.
f) Alteration of the biotic content of wetlands.
C. Environmental problems emerging from the interrelation of water resources with other environmental elements.
a) Inappropriate use of other resources (soils, atmosphere, fauna, flora) that affects water resources: droughts, acid rains, clogging of canals, pollution and alteration of wetlands.)
b) Inappropriate uses of water resources that affect other natural resources or environmental elements: water erosion, soil slump.

Faced with such a diversity of problems, the geographical dimension of sustainable development is potentiated in the water issue since all these problems have a variable territorial manifestation. Then, it is evident that the "management of land use planning (...) requires water management as essential" (Azpúrua, 1990).

However, applying sustainability criteria to the national water problem raises fundamental doubts regarding the concrete way of evaluating the well-being of the present and future generations. Thus, the viability of sustainable development arises. One way would be to be able to offer future Argentine generations the prospect of solutions to the arduous water problem.

The object of environmental policy is "the permanent determination of the desired and possible environment" (Tarak, 1993) in which citizen participation plays an essential role and in whose formulation multiple factors affect, among them: scientific, technological, economic and the cultural. In determining this "healthy, balanced environment, suitable for human development (4)" in Argentina, there would certainly be no room for citizen defenselessness in the face of natural disasters.

In this sense, if we take into account how the water environmental problem has evolved in our country, we must admit that what has been done or not done falls flat on our faces with all the criteria of geographical sustainability.
Some examples

• Recipes cannot be applied, but must respect cultural, social, economic and environmental identities and regional environmental realities. Regarding this aspect, the national news shows the absence of consideration of the territorial factor in many sectoral policies, especially those related to the management of water resources.
• It is necessary to work in regions, micro-regions and basins to relate man with the natural resources that sustain him. This process requires making decisions of an interdisciplinary nature. The watershed dimension makes it easier to organize actions and incorporate the environmental dimension. But it must also be borne in mind that when there is no basin, it is not possible to set up a basin committee, as in the case of the Pampa Deprimida (as pointed out by Fuschini Mejía, 1993).
• It is necessary to begin with a definition of the problems stated and solutions demanded by the inhabitants and users of the regions in question.
• The ideas of economic growth and equity must be integrated into sustainability (represented by the diagnosis of the area) to their execution in a defined geographic space.
• Climatic changes have introduced favorable agricultural conditions in the Pampean region with normal annual rainfall in the order of 600 to 800 mm. Unfortunately, this phenomenon has produced perhaps too optimistic expectations in marginal areas, without taking into account that extrapolations cannot be established with a certain degree of plausibility. The trend may be reversed in the future, since these anomalies of the order of 15 to 30 years must be taken as larger or different cycles of amplitudes. (Canziani). Speculation on land use does not account for these cycles.

To implement actions with sustainability criteria, it is necessary to consider:
1) Who are the actors involved in the management process?
2) Criteria or positions that govern the actions of the actors.
3) Detect the problems related to the quality of life and conservation of resources in the field of study, as expressed and felt by each of the actors or group of actors participating in the management processes.
4) Transform the problems or demands detected into objectives. Prioritize them
5) Inventory, evaluation and physical and socioeconomic diagnosis of the territorial and functional areas where the objectives are to be achieved. Control of environmental sustainability
6) Detect technical, political, legal, economic, financial, organizational, functional, cultural, educational, commercial and other restrictions that hinder or prevent the achievement of the objectives. Priorization.
7) Generate solution options to overcome previously identified restrictions and prioritize solutions. Selection.
8) Design strategies to put into practice the solutions, routes of actions of a discontinuous nature (investment projects) and continuous (services, production systems and others)
9) Operational programs: actions (programs, projects, activities, practices and tasks) according to the solutions and strategies selected to execute them, execution of control actions and monitoring of the results obtained.
10) Real shared area: materialization of the actions programmed in the area. Monitoring the objectives and environmental sustainability.
Source: ILPES (1990)

What is promoted on the global scale?

The XXI Program agreed upon from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development includes in Chapter 7 - F called "Promotion of planning and management of human settlements in disaster-prone regions" very important proposals for its application to the national water problem.

These include the organization of basic studies and national campaigns to raise awareness and the strengthening of global, regional, national and local early warning systems.

It also defines the need to implement pre-disaster planning and post-disaster rehabilitation activities.

In the previous planning, the following stand out:

• conducting research on the risks and vulnerability of human settlements and settlement infrastructure;
• the reorientation of human settlements towards areas that are not prone to disasters; Y
• the development of training programs for administrators, non-governmental organizations and community groups that cover all aspects of disaster mitigation.

In the rehabilitation it expresses that the patterns of sustainable settlement in post-disaster reconstruction are taken into account.

As will be seen in the example case studied, our country does not plan or minimally prevent risks -especially floods, and much less droughts- which, in general, are "fait accompli" for human settlements. Therefore, both the "prior planning" and "rehabilitation" recommendations are essential for promoting sustainable development in our country.

The proposals of the XXI Program are adequately related to the territorial planning strategy that fosters the creation of a national system for the analysis, prevention and control of natural phenomena of a catastrophic nature, based on adequate coordination of the existing organizations. (Roccatagliata, 1994). However, this is contradicted by the obligation by law to survey the map of natural hazards of Argentina by the National Geological Service under the Ministry of Economy of the Nation. (Folgarait, 1994) This Service will surely be interested in seismological and volcanic issues but it will be insufficient for other natural hazards.

Integrated management and use of water resources.

Chapter 18 of Program XXI identifies the program areas related to "Protection of the quality and supply of fresh water resources", promoting their conservation and management for sustainable development.

Seven program areas stand out, of which two are directly related to the issue of floods and droughts as natural disasters in Argentina: the integrated management and use of water resources and the evaluation of water resources (5).

The integrated management of water resources would have to be applied according to the Program at the catchment basin or sub-basin level based on the following objectives:

• promoting a dynamic, interactive and multisectoral approach to water resources management;
• planning of water resources within the framework of the national economic development policy;
• projects and programs based on a full public participation approach.
Among the activities - applicable to our country - the following stand out:
• the "fight against floods and droughts, through risk analysis and evaluation of social and environmental consequences";
• "devise techniques for public participation and apply them in decision-making";
• "develop cooperation at different levels, highlighting the local level to which the management of water resources should be delegated and the national level that should carry out integrated planning and management of water resources within the framework of the national planning process" .
In assessing water resources, Program XXI recommends:
• apply geographic information systems (GIS);
• apply low-cost technologies;
• be based on the principle of sustainability, that is, keep in mind long-term and shorter-term planning.
The priorities, according to another body on a planetary scale, the World Meteorological Organization -WOM- (1989), are:
• assess the magnitude of the risk of each type of disaster;
• predict, with sufficient precision, the parameters necessary to provide warnings in good time;
• reduce the consequences of any disaster on the population and
• evaluate the degree of success of disaster reduction plans and methods and make improvements.

Regional human settlements -from the cities to the dispersed rural population-, the road and rail infrastructure and all the productive and social equipment should be mapped in GIS with the purpose of correlating it with the aforementioned risk areas.

The Federal Investment Council (CFI) has carried out a "Bank Line Study" (Buenos Aires, 1989, 3 vol) that deals with the legal, institutional and financial regime of prevention and mitigation of damages caused by floods based on the preparation of maps of risk zones with legal value. In the USA and Canada, the risk zone mapping system and ad hoc legislation have been adopted that restrict the exercise of property rights by those who inhabit them. (Cano, 1992)

Those maps identify:

a) the bank line that separates the waters from the mainland, thus delimiting the public domain (the channel and the waters) from the private domain of the riparian owners;
b) a riverside easement of 5 to 35 m wide, established for the service of navigation or the maintenance of the riverbed or lake, in which it is forbidden to plant, build and raise obstacles to traffic;
c) the evacuation route for floods of variable width according to the physical and socioeconomic circumstances of the place. They are fixed by calculating the recurrence between 10 and 25 years, according to local circumstances. To establish the limit of this way inland, techniques have been developed that allow calculating the heights (level levels on the ground) at which extraordinary floods will reach and the periodicity with which they will occur (5, 10, 50, 100, 500 years).
d) Flood area, to fix the recurrence is calculated between 100 and 500 years and where the exercise of human activities is less restricted than in the case of the previous line.

This periodicity translates averages (since the 100-year flood may occur tomorrow and not a century from now. The decision to adopt a certain recurrence is political, because it brings economic and social consequences of magnitude. Indeed, among the restrictions that the legislation Of the countries mentioned, it imposes the exercise of property rights within the flood evacuation route, there are the following:

1) prohibition of making permanent plantations;
2) adaptation of pre-existing buildings to certain safety standards,
3) payment of improvements contributions to contribute to the cost of defense works;
4) prohibition of granting loans to residents, with public funds;
5) obligation to demolish works that impede the free flow of water;
6) prohibition of the subdivision of properties below a minimum;
7) compulsory taking out of insurance;
8) differential tax regime according to the buildings are before or after the risk map. These can be lifted in parts.

As you can see, the restrictions are multiple and difficult to apply.
The criteria for delimiting the various risk areas are essentially linked to the possibility of conducting management processes with local participation. This population is normally organized in municipalities. These, duly articulated with each other, can form a micro-region. The basin is constituted in an immediate superior space of horizontal integration of the microregion. Then they articulate these spaces with others of greater dimension, forming sub-regions and regions. In this way, the spaces for agreement between development managers are delimited based on natural physical spaces and economic political axes (Dourojeanni, 1990).

Water projects
"The biggest problem in the whole world consists of 'infiltrating' the minds of engineers and public administrators to think of non-structural, complementary or supplementary alternatives to the first -hydraulic works-; in participatory planning; in the establishment of alternative options, engineering or not and in the planning of a space to be protected, a buffer space and a space for dissipation of the negative effects of the anomalous event "(Morello, 1983)

Faced with these issues, it is a primary recommendation, an essential requirement: to apply the "precautionary principle" (6) of environmental law through one of its instruments: the Environmental Impact Assessment, which for now in our country is vetoed by decision presidential.

Regarding water projects, whatever their scale, they require an "environmental impact assessment" (7) (EIA) in this region so susceptible to deterioration, through interdisciplinary teams that can evaluate the risks and costs of the different alternatives. -microhydraulic, macrohydraulic, agrohydrological, etc.- of water control.

In the case of the Argentine plains, and especially in the province of Buenos Aires due to its high degree of environmental deterioration due to the alteration of water systems, the application of the EIA in hydraulic projects of various scales is fully justified - especially in the projects of "conjuncture" and in those of great hydraulics - by the high sensitivity of the environment to restore (synergetic criterion).

A special recommendation is that the expansion of flood control structures can increase the risk of catastrophic floods in the event of a collapse, especially when located in areas where there is an increase in population density. The periodic review of flood risks and land use risks is a job that must necessarily be carried out to reduce risks and especially uncertainties (Hagget, 1989). Little has this recommendation been taken into account in our country and especially in the case of floods, in which conjuncture hydraulic works are usually carried out; for example, for the defense of cities against floods, in which the retaining walls rise as the waters advance, potentiating greater risks, without prior calculation or environmental impact study.

Integrated and sustainable development in the management of natural hazards

The water environmental problem has been studied in an interdisciplinary way by numerous scientists and technicians, but the results of these studies and also of the hydraulic and agricultural technological proposals have not been sufficiently valued in political-environmental management when decisions are made in each disaster or later to them.

An integrated and sustainable use of water, soil and vegetation resources has been proposed in order to support the solution of the hydraulic problem.

An effective way to address microhydraulics in the province of Buenos Aires was through "consortia of producers" organized for the agrohydrological systematization, with the impact of the property tax on their properties to face the operating costs of the works. Thus, from Law 10,176, regulated by Decree 4443 of 7/17/86, 473 requests from producers were made, and feasibility studies were carried out in 1,116,539 ha; although the preliminary projects prepared on that basis only covered 50,856 ha., and finally the consortiums made included only 83 producers and 21,480 ha (Information as of 3/15/88, in Grau and Antueno, 1989).

At the date of the information, the Loma Verde consortium was in formation. The other consortia -not specified as of that date- were located in Cañuelas, Lobos, Magdalena, Bolívar, 25 de Mayo, Pila, Chascomús (2), Monte-Cañuelas, General Alvear, Las Flores, Maipú, General Lavalle, Monte, Saladillo , Azul-Olavarría and Brandsen.

The location of the consortiums specified corresponds entirely to peripheral areas of the Pampa Deprimida.

Some sustainable perspectives on the water problem in the Pampa Deprimida

Included in this work are some of the conclusions reached in a previous essay, reworked for this work with the new perspective of sustainable development.

1- The previously alternating and sporadic floods and droughts coincide and have intensified in the region as a result not only of an environmental change (extremely humid climatic period), but also of unsustainable human action and a large-scale transformation of the environment operated with the construction of major canals and road and rail works, in addition to the urbanization process and agricultural use that led to the environmental deterioration of the Depressed Pampa.

2- The resolution of the scientific-technological controversies and the synthesis of the integral projects conceived have given from the Colloquium of the Great Plains in 1983, the appropriate alternatives for the solution of the problem. The environmental problem has been studied in an interdisciplinary way by numerous scientists and technicians, but the results of these studies and also of the hydraulic and agricultural technological proposals have not been sufficiently valued in political-environmental management when decisions are made in each disaster or subsequently to them.
3- An integrated and sustainable use of water, soil and vegetation resources is proposed in order to support the solution of the hydraulic problem.
In this regard, it is possible to state four basic principles for the treatment of floodplains raised in the work of Barnes et al (1990):
3.1. Conservation principle:
Retener el agua donde cae: se trata del agua pluvial de uso agrícola, es decir, la que debe ser retenida en el suelo y subsuelo para la producción vegetal y para reserva, evitando en lo posible su escurrimiento y/o acumulación superficial durante lapsos prolongados.
3.2. Principio geomorfológico: Todo predio es parte de una cuenca, microcuenca o área topohidrográfica y sus características dependerán de su posición en ella.
3.3. Principio de planificación: a problema regional, solución regional.
En las llanuras de escasa pendiente, en épocas de exceso de lluvia, ocruren anegamientos generalizados pero con mayor afectación en las zonas más bajas, que son receptivas, también, de las aguas de escurrimiento provenientes de lugares más altos y/o afloramiento de napas.
3.4. Principio de organización: "La unión hace la fuerza".
Si es realizable el estudio y la planificación de una unidad de trabajo que incluye a varios predios o establecimientos vecinos afectados, en diversos grados por la misma problemática, debe ser factible y necesario también, la participación de todos o el mayor número posible de los productores en una acción conjunta para aplicar el tratamiento agrohidrológico regional.

4- El medio ambiente regional es muy complejo porque se trata de un entorno conjuntamente semiárido y semihúmedo con despreciables pendientes continuas que no muestran parangón a escala mundial, por lo que todavía no se ha podido definir exactamente -en profundidad y detalle-, su funcionamiento hídrico a escala regional y local y esto dificulta evidentemente las decisiones en términos de gran hidráulica.

5- El comportamiento imprevisor del hombre frente al riesgo ambiental es un hecho comprobado que se manifiesta en sus diversas modalidades: el mal manejo agropecuario, la construcción de las obras hidráulicas y ferroviales, el déficit del espíritu cooperativo de los productores y el Estado, la imprevisión en el orden de la defensa civil, la legislación incompleta sobre aguas y el déficit de nuestra política ambiental y territorial. Aquí cabe implementar una educación ambiental que permita la concientización social del problema.

6- Las intenciones de los sucesivos gobiernos en términos
de política hídrica han sido parciales y no se observa la decisión de encarar el problema en forma sostenible. Muy por el contrario, se concretan obras de "coyuntura", de "cirugía geomorfológica" sin pensar más allá del corto plazo. Esto debería ser revisto según lo planteado en los capítulos 7 F y 18 A del Programa XXI -descriptas en el ítem 2 de este trabajo- cuyos objetivos y acciones deberán ser tomados muy en cuenta por los decisores políticos.
El problema tiene un marco conflictivo. La toma de conciencia y la difusión de las alternativas tecnológicas hídricas y agronómicas son aspectos fundamentales poco considerados por la política.

7- La cooperación entre los propietarios de las mismas zonas de drenaje puede ser impulsada con una buena difusión por parte del Estado y de las entidades agropecuarias comprometidas. El INTA es el organismo más capacitado para conducir la difusión de las innovaciones de tecnología hídrica, pero debe ser apoyado por el Estado y organismos no gubernamentales para que su labor no se diluya y sea verdaderamente intensiva.
En una reciente mesa redonda sobre "Deficiencias y excesos hídricos en el área centro-oeste de la provincia de Buenos Aires" (1993) concretada en el Centro de Promoción de la conservación del suelo y agua (PROSA), Adolfo Glave -ingeniero agrónomo de la Estación Experimental del INTA-Bordenave, expresó que en nuestro país se tarda 15 a 20 años en incorporar prácticas agroecológicas. Frente a este notable retraso, la educación ambiental es estratégica para acelerar estos tiempos de transferencia científica y tecnológica.

8- Las cooperativas agrarias, los establecimientos educativos y las municipalidades son instituciones de escala local que en una labor conjunta podrían evitar un gran despilfarro de esfuerzos para encarar obras de pequeña hidráulica y prácticas de agroecología. En este ámbito las mecánicas de participación ciudadana directa, como las audiencias públicas o las consultas populares, deberían ser mecanismos muy valorizados en el tratamiento del problema.

9- Como propuestas de tecnología aplicables y sostenibles en las que existe una notable coincidencia entre los científicos que se ocupan de la evaluación del ambiente para el caso estudiado, se incluyen:
• mejorar la capacidad de infiltración y almacenaje de los suelos mediante buenas prácticas agronómicas y correctivos;
• forestar en toda la zona inundable;
• aumentar la capacidad de retención de la Pampa Deprimida aprovechando sus condiciones geomórficas (cubetas y lagunas);
• remover obstáculos y mantener limpios los canales y las desembocaduras de ríos, arroyos y canales;
• mantener en buen estado las obras de arte de los canales;
• construir nuevos canales en las zonas más bajas (pero no de desagüe ilimitado);
• coordinar las acciones entre los propietarios de las mismas microcuencas;
• evitar que lleguen al Salado drenajes exógenos;
• utilizar el bombeo en zonas bajas;
• construir pequeñas presas en las depresiones de las sierras de Tandilia;
• mantener la cobertura vegetal natural y aún mejorarla;

10- Se propone la aplicación masiva de la pequeña hidráulica, tal como ha sido propuesta por el INTA, PROSA, etc. porque la misma reune criterios de sustentabilidad: promueve la experimentación, orienta realizaciones continuas y en etapas, favorece la aplicación de criterios de cooperación y participación de la población local, se integra a un tratamiento conservacionista de los suelos.

11- Para el área de máximas limitaciones naturales de la Pampa Deprimida (el este inundable ) se ha valorizado el papel que podría ejercer la polderización como respuesta intermedia de tecnología hidráulica, sustentable también: apoyada en la existencia de la red actual de canales, más la posible construcción de estaciones de bombeo, para elevar el exceso de agua a las cubetas y lagunas.

12- En términos de gran hidráulica debemos señalar la recomendación de Fuschini Mejía (1987): "cuando se manejan las aguas locales con obras de microhidráulica se debe preveer el transporte de agua de los excesos, reducidos al mínimo, a través de la llanura. El concepto de macrohidráulica entonces, es subordinado a la microhidrálica".

En síntesis, la solución al problema de las sequías e inundaciones depende tanto de los avances técnicos y científicos en la meteorología y climatología, la ingeniería hidráulica y agronómica, la geografía, etc., como de una política ambiental que integre la evaluación del impacto ambiental de las obras hidráulicas y un ordenamiento territorial adecuado y eficaz.

Esta política se basa fundamentalmente en diseñar las obras hidráulicas "con la naturaleza", es decir, conociéndola profundamente y siguiendo sus tendencias.
La Argentina, en los últimos años, ha sufrido en forma alternante y, a veces, simultáneamente, inundaciones catastróficas; pero también las sequías se han extendido e intensificado porque no se ha considerado el problema hídrico en forma integrada, es decir, teniendo en cuenta que ambos fenómenos constituyen un mismo problema con diferentes manifestaciones.

El estado nacional ha debido afrontar las catástrofes hídricas con fondos escasos para las numerosas poblaciones afectadas. Por ello es muy importante establecer una política ambiental que tenga en cuenta las siguientes recomendaciones geográficas:
• la realización de obras de gran hidráulica se deberá concretar cuando se conozca científicamente el problema;
• el trazado de obras de infraestructura ferroviaria y vial debe considerar el relieve en todos sus detalles;
• no se deberán concretar obras hidráulicas de emergencia que no tengan suficiente fundamento científico y técnico;
• se promoverá el espíritu cooperativo en los productores agrarios y las poblaciones urbanas;
• se deben realizar las obras de pequeña hidráulica recomendadas por la experiencia del Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria y otras instituciones científicas y técnicas nacionales;
• no será aconsejable promover el avance de las explotaciones agropecuarias y los asentamientos humanos sobre áreas de elevado riesgo de inundación o sequía;
• es necesario trabajar en nuevos esquemas de defensa civil que definan con variadas alternativas el comportamiento de la población y de las instituciones en circunstancias de catástrofe.

La llanura pampeana podrá ser sistematizada a través de obras de pequeña hidráulica o microhidráulica. Esta tecnología "blanda" o "de alternativa" incluye bajos mejorados, canales de evacuación y retención, polders, etc., que gradualmente se combinarán con la gran hidráulica con la pequeña hidráulica.
En definitiva, es posible aplicar criterios de sustentabilidad conducentes a revertir el deterioro ambiental manifiesto en la alteración de los sistemas hídricos aquí analizados. Hace falta para ello repensar y concretar alternativas de solución en términos de desarrollo sustentable.-

(1) Secretaría General de la Presidencia de la Nación -Subsecretaría de Acción de gobierno- Proyecto "Políticas de ordenación territorial", 1992.
(2) Las seis áreas son: sistema básico de ciudades, sistema urbano de equilibrio, sistema rural, grandes ejes de relaciones e infraestructura, sistema de actividades y población y sistema natural y recursos naturales.
(3) Humedales: ambientes acuáticos dulces.
(4) El Art. 41 de la Constitución de la Nación Argentina, sancionada por el Congreso General Constituyente el 22 de agosto de 1994 establece el nuevo derecho: "Todos los habitantes gozan del derecho a un ambiente sano, equilibrado, apto para el desarrollo humano y para que las actividades productivas satisfagan las necesidades presentes sin comprometer las de las generaciones futuras; y tienen el deber de preservarlo…"
(5) Las otras cinco áreas son: protección de los recursos hídricos, la calidad del agua y los ecosistemas acuáticos. Abastecimiento de agua potable y saneamiento; el agua y el desarrollo urbano sostenible, el agua para la producción sostenible de alimentos y el desarrollo rural sostenibles y las repercusiones del cambio climático en los recursos hídricos.
(6) El principio precautorio "indica la responsabilidad, tanto de los gobiernos como de individuos, de tomar medidas cautelares. Responsabilidad que conlleva consecuencias jurídicas y económicas. Las primeras porque nadie a quien la ciencia haya alertado de la posibilidad de causar un daño, puede alegar inimputabilidad por ignorancia, y por tanto la persistencia en prácticas dañinas crea al menos reponsabilidad por negligencia o culposa." (Cano, 1993)
(7) E.I.A.: "es una evaluación anticipada de las consecuencias de una acción en los elementos del inventario ambiental" (Rosa, 1993).
Azpúrua, Pedro Pablo (1990). El ordenamiento territorial como herramienta de las políticas hidráulica y ambiental. En La gestión de los recursos hídricos en vísperas del siglo XXI" Actas y Ponencias. Anales Juris aquarum II. Asociación Internación de Derechos de Aguas (AIDA). Valencia.
Cano, Guillermo (1990). Introducción a los problemas ambientales vinculados a las aguas. Valencia.
Cano, Guillermo (1992). Soluciones pensadas (y no improvisadas) para las inundaciones. Inédito.
Cano, Guillermo (1993). Introducción al curso. Curso Latinoamericano de Capacitación Institucional en desarrollo sostenible. (CDS93/2). Buenos Aires.
Carrizosa Umaña, Julio. (1993). La viabilidad del desarrollo sustentable en Colombia. Una contrapropuesta.En Medio ambiente y Desarrollo. Guhl E. (Editor). Tercer mundo Editores. Colombia.
Comisión Mundial sobre el Medio Ambiente y el Desarrollo (1987). Nuestro futuro común, Alianza Editorial. Madrid.
Dourojeanni, Axel. (1990). Procedimientos de gestión para el desarrollo sustentable (aplicados a microrregiones y cuencas). Documento 89 95. Instituto Latinoamericano y del Caribe de Planificación Económica y Social.
Durán, Diana (1987) Sequías e inundaciones. Propuestas. OIKOS. Buenos Aires.
Durán, Diana (1994) La dimensión geográfica del desarrollo sostenible en relación al problema hídrico nacional. En Contribuciones Científicas. Sociedad Argentina de Estudios Geográficos. Congreso Nacional de Geografía. Rosario. 1994.
Duran, Diana. Buzai, Gustavo D. (1994) El medio construido. En prensa.
Duran, Diana. De Marco, Graciela. Lara, Albina. Sassone, Susana. Daguerre, Celia (1993). Geografía de la Argentina. Editorial Troquel. Buenos Aires.
Folgarait, Alejandra. (1994) "La gran deuda es el riesgo tecnológico" En Suplemento Página 12 Verde. 21 de agosto de 1994.
Fuschini Mejía, Mario. (1989) El manejo del agua en las llanuras. Trabajo presentado en el Seminario Internacional sobre Hidrología de las Grandes Llanuras. Buenos Aires.
Fuschini Mejía, Mario (1993) El fenómeno de las inundaciones en las zonas de llanura de la República Argentina, soluciones para mitigar el efecto de las mismas.
Gilsanz, Manuel de Pedraza (1987). Diccionario de la Naturaleza. Espasa Calpe. Madrid.
Haggett, Peter. (1989) Geografía una síntesis moderna. Omega. Barcelona.
Herzer H, (1985). Los desastres no son tan naturales como parecen. En Medio ambiente y urbanización N 30 Año 8 N especial Grupo Editor Latinoamericano. Marzo 1990.
Herzer. H (1992) ¿Mano del hombre o mano de Dios? Clarín, 5 de junio de 1992.
Lara, Albina L. (1993) La práctica de la Educación ambiental.Curso Latinoamericano de Capacitación Institucional en desarrollo sostenible. (CDS93/72). Buenos Aires.
Morello, Jorge (1983) Riesgos, daños y catástrofes. En Boletín de medio ambiente y urbanización. CLACSO.

Video: Sustainability Lecture - Connecting the Drops: Water Scarcity and the Economy (July 2022).


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