A New Protected Area Secures Water Supplies for 39,000 People
Strategic Area: People
Content Type: News
Thanks to donors like you, there is a new Water Protection Area in the Ecuadorian Andes.
Nature and Culture International has supported the creation of a new Water Protection Area in northern Ecuador! The newly declared Mojanda Water Protection Area conserves 15,066 acres and secures safe and abundant water for 39,000 people.
The “Water Protection Area” is a new national-level conservation figure in Ecuador. These areas are defined by their strategic importance as water sources for human consumption and/or to guarantee food security and the rights of nature.
This conservation figure legally safeguards forests and other habitats from exploitation activities, like mining, ensuring clean water supplies for human consumption and other use. By focusing on source water protection, we can also protect the incredible biological and cultural diversity found in these areas.
The newly declared Mojanda Water Protection Area (Mojanda) includes parts of the Ambi and Guayllabamba river basins, protecting 60 water sources that provide water to 39,144 people.
Páramo ecosystems make up more than 71% of Mojanda. Sometimes referred to as “water factories,” páramos act like sponges, absorbing rain and moisture from the air. They capture, store, and slowly release this water to the lower parts of the river basins.
One of the largest volcanoes in northern Ecuador stands amid the páramos in Mojanda. Volcán Mojanda is a twin volcano, consisting of two active stratovolcanoes (volcanoes consisting of alternate layers of lava and ash) called Mojanda and Fuya Fuya. An eruption thousands of years ago created a caldera at the summit of the volcanoes, now occupied by three turquoise lakes.
Additionally, the area is home to an impressive variety of wildlife. Animal species in Mojanda include the endangered royal sunangel (Heliangelus regalis), long-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus kingii), Andean fox (Lycalopex culpaeus), and cougar (Puma concolor).
In coordination with the National Water Authority of Ecuador, Nature and Culture conducted technical studies to determine the water quality, water demand, and conservation status of the area and identified areas of water importance that led to the establishment of Mojanda.
According to José Romero, project coordinator at Nature and Culture – Ecuador, the establishment of Mojanda will help state and local governments better manage the region and ensure the protection and sustainable use of natural resources.
Mojanda was established thanks to financial support from the Tinker Foundation and generous donors like you! The area is a result of collaboration between Nature and Culture International, the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition of Ecuador, regional governments, and local communities.
The Ministry of Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition of Ecuador asked Nature and Culture to support the declaration of ten Water Protection Areas this year. Our local conservationists have protected five areas to date.
With your help, we will establish five additional Water Protection Areas in 2021. These areas are of ecological and hydrological importance for the country – and the world!
Did you hear? Part of Yacuambi Ecological Reserve has also been incorporated into Ecuador’s National System of Protected Areas! Learn more here.