Pilot site: Chiquito river microwatershed (Sumpul sub-basin)

Río Lempa: Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador

Description of the pilot site

The upper watershed of the Lempa River is shared by Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, as outlined in the Trifinio Plan. Its management represents a novel experience for Central America. It demonstrates the advances made in the management of the natural resources of a trans-national watershed, through the political will of the countries at the highest level, institutionalized through an international treaty, and making way for a new form of organizational management.

The Trifinio region covers an area of about 7,500 km2 in the border areas of Honduras, Guatemala, and El
Salvador. It converges around the mountain mass known as the Montecristo Cloud Forest.

The binational sub-basin of the Sumpul, located in the upper Lempa, is shared by Honduras and El Salvador. The municipalities of Sinuapa and Nueva Ocotepeque are situated on the Honduran side while San Ignacio and La Palma are found on the side of El Salvador.

There are five communities located in an area approximately 44.528 km2 wide, namely El Centro, Las Pilas, Chiquito River, San Ignacio and Los Planes. These communities belong to the Salvadorian municipalities of San Ignacio and La Palma. The communities of El Volcán, El Volcancito, El Cipresal and San Francisco Sumpul are located on the Honduran side.

This pilot initiative will work with the communities of El Centro, Las Pilas and the Chiquito River on the side of El Salvador, which belong to the municipality of San Ignacio with an area of approximately 19 km2.

Impact of climate change scenarios on livelihoods

Cabbage and vegetable crops are very sensitive to variations in climate. In Central America these crops are produced at temperatures between 15 and 20 °C. In the pilot area of San Ignacio the climate scenarios showed an oscillation between 14 and 17 ºC. This means that the area of production could extend to 600 meters above sea level by the end of the century, which is the highest boundary of the Sumpul sub-basin. In the case of such displacement, mountain ecosystems would suffer even more from the pressure of agriculture.

According to the climate scenarios, plagues would increase in cabbage crops as a result of the variation in rain, or humidity that becomes too low or high. In the case of low rain, the cabbage crops are affected by fungus Mycosphaerella brassicicola) or the “black spot” (Alternaria spp). High humidity facilitates the proliferation of snails and slugs.

Adaptation measures and implementation strategy

  1. Strengthening local governance structures;
  2. Crop diversification and promotion of organic agriculture as an adaptation strategy;
  3. Protection of the water springs with fruit and forest trees to improve water collection and availability for household and productive purposes