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Irrigating higher altitudes of an arid mountain: An assumed risk

Science et changements planétaires / Sécheresse. Volume 22, Number 4, 267-74, Octobre-Novembre-Décembre 2011, Articles de recherche

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Author(s) : Pablo Alvarez, Héctor Reyes

Summary : The basin of the Limarí river in Chile shows an astonishing increase of irrigated areas, higher and higher up the arid slopes. This progress raises the question of the limiting factors of sustainable agriculture in a very artificialized context: nature is transformed, along with local economic and social conditions. This paper describes some of the historical, technical, economical and social factors which render possible and enhance such spectacular transformations of the landscape and of the cropping systems. On the subject of natural environment, soils, air temperatures and water availability are discussed. On the subject of social environment, regulations and rights pertaining to water distribution and non-gravitational energy are exposed.

Keywords : arid mountain, Chili, irrigation, fruit cropping, water rights, agricultura, Chile, derechos de agua, fruticultura, montaña árida


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