Every year Colombia makes the news because of flash floodings and landslides during the rainy season. Especially people living on the slopes and in the valleys of the high mountains of the Andes are at risk of suffering from these destructive events. It’s not uncommon to receive over 100 mm of rainwater in just a few hours or less. Then after the rains, in the dry seasons, there is a shortage of water. This affects the availability of water in many towns and it severely limits the options to grow crops for farmers.
Many areas that used to be forested have been turned into farms, with open, often bare, fields. This has increased evaporation from the soils and that makes the effects of the dry season even stronger. Many areas are already displaying the telltale symptoms of desertification. An added effect of this is even more extremes in the weather, longer periods of drought, followed by more intense rains.
A lot of these problems can be solved or the severity of their effects can be mitigated. It depends greatly on the way people structure and use their land. With the right measures taken rainwater can be captured and stored, both in the ground as well as in ponds, dams or tanks. Increased rainwater capture provides more fertility, which can help fight poverty and influence the climate. It also prevents rainwater from coming downhill at high speed, so flashflooding and landslides are less likely to happen.
Most farms on the mountain slopes are small family farms. Their owners are generally poor, and this harsh climate of extremes does not help much to create opportunities to escape poverty and earn an income from the land. It also greatly limits their options to address the problems this climate presents. Without proper help the situation will slowly continue to get worse.
Water can either bring fertility when pacified and stored or it can cause problems if it flows downhill unrestricted. Only maintaining rivers and waterways does nothing to turn destruction into vegetation. Rainwater needs to be properly dealt with where it falls so it benefits the land. The Green Rain Foundation promotes applying the right measures to deal with water. With your help we can make the rain green again.
For more information, please check out the following pages:
– functional landscapes in mountainous regions
– benefits of functional landscapes in mountainous regions
– projects of the Green Rain Foundation