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Free-Flowing Rivers
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images

As WWF Perú we seek to maintain connectivity, quality, and temporality of aquatic ecosystems by strengthening the environmental impact assessment regulations for infrastructure projects, the protection of ecological flows, considering optimal indicators for real aquatic ecosystems and a comprehensive definition of the ecological value of the rivers.

What is the issue? 

The development model driven in Peru for the Amazon considers the promotion of high-impact infrastructure, mining, and the extraction of other resources. However, there is no basin-scale planning system or clear mechanisms to assess potential impacts on key freshwater ecosystems, especially on aquatic biodiversity, river connectivity, ecological flows, and cumulative impacts.

This high-impact infrastructure includes hydroelectric dams, mainly concentrated in upper basins, roads that cross areas of high biodiversity, and infrastructure associated with navigation projects such as hydroways that modify the bottom of rivers. However, not only the construction of this infrastructure should be considered, but also the impacts associated with its maintenance and operation that could mean changes in the natural dynamics of freshwater ecosystems. The barriers to freshwater biodiversity migration and river dredging in key breeding grounds are our greatest concern.

What is WWF doing?

We support the capacity strengthening of water infrastructure´s integral planning, solid guidelines, and the promotion of best practices. We join the efforts, in coordination with civil society allies and government actors to develop environmental standards, technological innovation for the diversification of the energy matrix, and alternatives to minimize impacts on aquatic ecosystems.


How do we do this?

We focus our efforts on three lines of action.

  • We identify potential scenarios where the Sustainable Gray Infrastructure is viable, where the environmental impact assessment guidelines incorporate relevant indicators of aquatic ecosystems and alternative scenarios have been developed with the participation of non-conventional renewable sources of energy, maintaining the free course of rivers.
  • We have committed to implement Water Reserves for our future, protecting ecological flows to ensure the conservation of ecosystems, water for the population, and free-flowing rivers.
  • We promote Natural Infrastructure mechanisms in the Amazon, supporting the strengthening of Leading Groups and providing technical inputs to safeguard freshwater ecosystems with projects related to their recovery, conservation and sustainable use.

Who do we work with?

We coordinate with local and international institutions of civil society, academia, government actors and decision makers.

© WWF-Perú
When did it start?

Around 2010, with the launch of the Amazonía Viva Initiative, the protection of free-flowing rivers´ work was strengthened. In 2017, this agenda was identified as a challenge for the Peruvian Amazon. Since then, strategic alliances with institutions such as The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Environmental Law and Natural Resources (DAR), Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC), among others have been prioritized. We are convinced that acting in coordination is key to guarantee the integrity of the Amazonian ecosystems.
f cities were positioned as four major challenges. Thus it increases the need to change the reality by approaching new actors, offering alternatives for sustainable use of resources.

What are the big wins?

  • Between 2012 and 2016, we identified the possible environmental impacts within the framework of the hydropower scenarios in force in the Marañón Basin, generating inputs to debate the need for better energy planning tools on the public agenda.
  • Between 2018 and 2019, an aquatic biodiversity baseline was generated for the rivers of the Northern Amazon through environmental DNA.
  • In 2020, in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy, a detailed hydropower guideline was developed for the Marañón Basin, an essential input to generate alternative scenarios through the use of systematic planning methodologies at the scale of the basin.
  • In 2020, began the formal process to sign an agreement with the National Water Authority (ANA) to develop mechanisms and instruments aimed at the conservation and protection of aquatic ecosystems.

What can you do?

Find out about the current scenario of our rivers and our proposals: