Implementation of the Strategic Action Programmes and the National Strategic Action Plans for the Integrated Water Resources Management in the Puyango-Tumbes, Catamayo-Chira and Zarumilla Transboundary Aquifers and River Basins

Project Objective

Implement the prioritized investments and activities under the SAP and NSAPs for strengthened Integrated Transboundary Water Resources Management in the Puyango-Tumbes, Catamayo-Chira, and Zarumilla transboundary aquifers and river basins between Ecuador and Peru.

Global environmental and/or adaptation problems, root causes, and barriers that need to be addressed 

The environmental problem and its socio-economic impacts:

Ecuador and Peru share nine transboundary basins of which three (Puyango-Tumbes, Catamayo-Chira and Zarumilla) discharge their waters into the Pacific Ocean and six (Mayo-Chinchipe, Santiago, Morona, Pastaza, Cunambo-Tigre and Napo) into the Amazon River. The three transboundary basins of the Pacific, Zarumilla, Puyango-Tumbes, and Catamayo-Chira, occupy an area of approximately 24,173 km2, mostly (42 percent) covered by natural tree vegetation and cultivated pastures for cattle (36 percent). The estimated population in 2017 for the three basins was 1,509,600 inhabitants settled mainly in Huaquillas, Catamayo and MacarĂ¡ in the provinces of El Oro and Loja in Ecuador and in Tumbes and Zarumilla in the department of Tumbes, and Sullana in the department of Piura in Peru. The people main economic activities are productive activities linked to agriculture, aquaculture, livestock, and local and international trade, among others. The excessive pressure of these activities is generating certain problems for water resources and its sustainable management. In the three transboundary basins, the populations of Ecuador and Peru face similar problems of the development and management of natural resources, particularly water. The two countries understand that the problem of water resources management in the border areas is common, and therefore must also be managed in a common and coordinated manner.

The water resources management issues in the transboundary basins developed under the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and the Strategic Action Programmes (SAPs) identified seven (7) common problems in the three transboundary basins. These problems are:

  1. Weak institutional management at the transboundary, national, and/or binational level.

  2. Surface and groundwater pollution.

  3. Intervention in the paramos and native forests, loss of soil on slopes and decrease in groundwater recharge.

  4. Insufficient water availability and a decrease in natural flows over time affect the balance between supply and demand, and poor availability of water infrastructure for access to water.

  5. Overflows and floods.

  6. Hydrological droughts and low water flows.

  7. Impacts of climate change and climate variability.


Zarumilla , Puyango-Tumbes-Chira-Catamayo

South America

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Documents & Resources
General information
GEF ID 10700
Project type Full-Size Project
Status active (Project Approved)
Start Date 01 Jan 2022
End Date 31 Dec 2024
GEF characteristic:
Focal Area International Waters
GEF Allocation to project USD 8 000 000
Total Cost of the project: USD 62 295 613
Ecuador , Peru , Regional

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Project contacts
Ana María Nuñez Regional Technical Specialist for Waters, Oceans, Ecosystems and Biodiversity Nature, Climate and Energy Team