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sjoerd commented on Lima 2035

Hello all,
I am an intern at the CIP and really enjoyed reading this vision. I have a background in agriculture and (urban) water management. I think the vision has a clear structure and is written by authors with an interesting relationship to Lima. I have some comments/advice and tips to share with you.

What I miss in general is the involvement and the role of the people of Lima in this vision. As I see it, it is needed from them to lower their water-footprint. You call for a policy that discourage the wasteful usage of water by establishing a premium charge for city water consumed in excess of basic needs. To complement this, policies that facilitate and encourage the sustainable usage of water are needed as well. Think off subsidies on household equipment that use water efficiently (Japan holds many great examples of this, both technical and in terms of policy). Think off policies that encourage parks, gardens and ‘green’ areas designs with native vegetation that require little water for maintenance. Sharpen buildings restrictions on water efficiency before granting building permits etc. Furthermore, the water crisis in Cape town, South Africa, often referred to as ‘’day-zero’’ could serve as a source of inspiration as well.

Awareness of the (water) challenges that Lima faces is crucial. People value green public spaces/parks but seems to forget they live in a desert. Public space should transform there vegetation accordingly. By transforming the layout of parks according to a desert, think off robust benches made of locally harvested rock material, the usage of locally harvested gravel to avoid air pollution related to dust, the usage of shade cloths to provide comfort from intense sunlight, and think off native plants/trees that thrive in a desert biome. On top of that, place informative signs that promote the Lima vision 2035 and emphasise on the role of inhabitants. This might be an interesting and realistic option to invest part of the award in. I would love to brainstorm about this with the architect of the team. Furthermore, it would be great to have a visualization within this vision of the innovative housing model tailored to the needs and talents of Lima’s informal settlers
Many people in the comments advocate for desalination plants. However, desalination plants require an enormous amount of initial investment and energy to operate. This leads to high costs of ‘fresh’ water and would likely increase the current water inequality. Toxic brine, the leftover of the desalination process, is difficult to recycle/reuse and often leads to being disposed in the ocean resulting in huge environmental impacts. Also, desalinization plants are not addressing the underlying causes of the water crisis in Lima and therefore might lead to a continuation of the current practices. Business as usual is not desirable.

I am way more positive about the huge potential that ‘harvesting’ the water from the Lomas provide. Afterall, you can frame this as a ‘natural desalinization plant’ which only makes it more promising. Investment in and research into actual feasibility, usability, and up-scale possibilities of this natural process of harvesting freshwater is therefore a must.

Greetings,

Sjoerd Kemink