Located on the Pacific coast of South America, the Lima metropolitan region is one of the most densely populated and arid regions in the world, with a population of around ten million. The water supply traditionally depends on the three rivers Chillón, Rímac and Lurín. Through a complex system of reservoirs, canals and long-distance water pipelines, more and more water is diverted from neighboring river basins to Lima in order to supply the constantly growing population with drinking water. Local groundwater reserves are essential, especially during dry periods, when there is little river water available. For years, however, these have been exploited excessively, resulting in significant reductions in abstraction and the abandonment of numerous wells near the coast due to salinization. The treatment of municipal wastewater poses a further challenge. As in many developing and newly industrializing countries, wastewater in Peru is predominantly discharged into the environment without adequate treatment, and in the arid coastal regions is also used to irrigate agricultural land. This results in high environmental pollution and risks to human health.
Aims and approach
The project, which is funded by the BMUV Export Initiative for Green Technologies (EXI), aims to make a concrete contribution to sustainable water management in Peru through the pilot implementation of nature-based, energy-efficient technologies in the water and wastewater sector. Innovative technologies and processes from German companies and research institutions will be used. The technology of Managed Artificial Groundwater Recharge (MAR), which has been proven in Germany, will be introduced as a nature-based solution (NBS) in Peru and its potential for the cost-effective provision of high-quality industrial and drinking water in densely populated water-scarce regions will be examined. Two previously unused resources, winter runoff surpluses and treated municipal wastewater, are planned for infiltration. In addition, the trickling filter technology will be used as an optimized plant technology for wastewater treatment adapted to local conditions. The research work builds on extensive investigation results from the BMBF joint project TRUST.
The project will also use stakeholder integration activities to establish and strengthen cooperation and networks with and between local stakeholders. In addition, an intensive transfer of knowledge is planned, including training courses on the topics of MAR, drinking water and wastewater treatment.
The main task of ZIRIUS is the project coordination as well as the integration of local actors from the water sector into the project. Through the experience from the BMBF joint project TRUST, ZIRIUS can build on an extensive network and contacts in the Lima region.