"Parched Peru Is Restoring Pre-Incan Dikes To Solve Its Water Problem"

"SAN PEDRO DE CASTA, Peru — On a mountainside high above Peru’s capital, Javier Obispo pauses from the backbreaking work of renovating an amuna. The abandoned irrigation dike distributed water before Europeans came to South America.

With Lima’s water supply under increasing pressure, the 42-year-old veterinary technician has been working with other villagers here to bring the ancient technology back to life. The steep Andean slopes, dotted with small cactuses wielding outsize thorns, tower around us, a parched shade of light brown. Climate change is making itself felt.

“Twenty years ago, the soil would be damp. There used to be waterfalls,” says Obispo, gesturing at a dusty bluff above. “Now, there just isn’t enough pasture anymore. What’s it going to be like in 2030?”

But now the water is beginning to trickle, for perhaps the first time in centuries.

The amunas — permeable stone-and-adobe walls 18 inches high that run for miles across this imposing landscape — divert excess water from streams that during the rainy season would otherwise flow uncontrolled down the mountains and eventually be lost in the Pacific Ocean."

Simeon Tegel reports for the Washington Post December 12, 2022.

Source: Washington Post, 12/13/2022