PARTICIPATIVE ANALYSIS OF SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS AND INTERACTIONS. A CASE STUDY OF THE MANGLARALTO COASTAL AQUIFER, SANTA ELENA-ECUADOR
Malaysian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture (MJSA)
Author: G. Herrera-Franco; T. Gavín-Quinchuelaa; N. Alvarado-Macancelaa; P. Carrión-Mero
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Socio-ecological dynamics describe forms of interaction between society and ecosystems, through social, economic and ecological processes that influence the state of natural resources. The aim of this paper is to understand the functioning of the Manglaralto Socio-Ecological System through a participatory modeling method called PARDI (Problem, Actors, Resources, Dynamics and Interactions), in order to determine possible solutions for sustainability of groundwater resources. The sustainable management of the Manglaralto Coastal Aquifer has been identified as the problem. The actors involved in the socio-ecological dynamics of the Manglaralto Coastal Aquifer are the Manglaralto Regional Drinking Water Management Board as manager; as well as users, such as the population of rural communities and economic activities, highlighting the tourism activity. The key resources identified were rainfalls, forested areas and surface waters, which are considered the most relevant recharge sources of the coastal aquifer. The main dynamics and interactions that have directly intervened in the operation of the aquifer are: the growing water demand of 1,179.30% during the period 2005-2015 and the increase of 80.85% in the construction of urbanized areas for housing and tourist activities during the period 2006-2013. Currently, there are thirteen water wells; considered as the limit for the coastal aquifer. The Manglaralto Coastal Aquifer has dropped to 32.30% of its capacity, so there are schedules of water supply as a regulatory measure for the sustainability of the aquifer. Through in a participatory process between the actors involved, researchers and universities, possible collectively acceptable solutions have been identified for a first stage. These solutions are: the water repression through the construction of river tapes, the incentive for reforestation in livestock areas, a desalination plant and the nomination of the Manglaralto Coastal Aquifer as Heritage of Ecuador.