- After the floods that occurred in Turrialba in 2021, different national organizations joined efforts to create resilience actions in the canton and share experiences with the Regional Scientific and Technical Advisory Group (RSTAG) of the Americas and the Caribbean.
March 15, 2022. Last Friday, March 11 2022, CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) received the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) at its headquarters. After the heavy floods that hit Turrialba last July 2021, the UNDRR together with the National Emergency Commission (CNE, its Spanish acronym), the National Center for High Technology (CeNAT, its Spanish acronym) and the National Council of Rectors (CONARE, its Spanish acronym), chose the canton as a place of special attention during their regional tour in Costa Rica.
The purpose of the visit was to open a space for the exchange of knowledge and to promote the necessary actions to face the climatic events that may affect both the canton of Turrialba and the Latin American and Caribbean region.
As part of the different studies on the subject, CATIE's Watershed, Water Security and Soil Unit presented the research advances made by the Center in response to these events. Among the various studies carried out were the results of the modeling of floods in the Colorado River, which caused the greatest damage during the last floods.
Through hydraulic and hydrological models, results have been generated that visualize event data to identify the return period, as well as to calculate the volume and extent of flooding in bridges, culverts and cross sections of the river. According to Laura Benegas, coordinator of the unit, the results are also being refined by means of a topographic survey with a drone to improve the accuracy of these preliminary results.
"In October 2021 we also had the opportunity to convene and bring together the different actors, stakeholders, people interested in Turrialba to collectively think and plan, from different visualizations, scenarios that could occur if no action is taken; how Turrialba could turn out if things go well or if they go to an extreme scenario not so good or to an intermediate one. This process was really quite enriching and a first report has already been generated, which we will make available to the Mayor's Office of Turrialba", highlighted Benegas.
The Director General of CATIE, Muhammad Ibrahim, shared a few words with the representatives of each of the organizations to highlight the importance of raising awareness about how climate change, in the specific case of heavy rains and storms, have affected the canton. He also highlighted how CATIE can join efforts to collaborate with the community of Turrialba.
"Research on these disasters is very important to seek the resilience of communities, as well as to provide knowledge and tools for decision making. CATIE has an Ecosystem Modeling Laboratory in which we are working today so that, eventually, all this knowledge can be made available to the region," said Ibrahim.
During the session, the mayor of Turrialba, Luis Fernando León, also participated and expressed his commitment, gratitude and willingness to work together.
If you would like to know more about the progress made by the Watershed, Water Security and Soil Unit in the specific case of Turrialba, please send an e-mail to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Benegas Negri
Watershed, Water Security and Soil Unit Coordinator
Coordinator of the Master's Degree in Watershed Management and Administration
Dannia Gamboa Solís
Information Technology and Communication