Monocultures in the Vinces river basin (Ecuador) and their relationship between the supply of water for irrigation

Jose Luis Muñoz Marcillo


The need to satisfy the nutritional requirements of the Ecuadorian population, added to the public policy of increasing the income of foreign exchange to maintain the economic model of the country through the export of agricultural products, has increased the establishment of several monocultures in large areas of land, increased importantly the use of water for irrigation of these crops. The objective of this work is to analyze the change in time and space in the use of agricultural land, the expansion of its border and the pressure on the water resource exerted by irrigation in the Vinces river basin in accordance with the concessions of water granted by the governmental authority with competence in the basin. This research entailed the compilation of digital geoinformation, its subsequent processing in Geographic Information Systems, tabulation of official statistical information and verification in the field. The conceptual integration of the Integrated Management of Water Resources allows to advance in the understanding of the complexity and the difficulties to achieve a balance between the natural and social processes that affect us. The main agricultural coverage of the Vinces river basin represented by the monocultures of banana, cocoa and oil palm presented a notable and progressive time-space change (expansion of the cultivated area) and increased pressure by the basin water for the irrigation in the long dry season. The historical water concessions for irrigation extended in the Vinces river basin by the environmental authority do not reflect the true volume used by the agricultural sector in the summer stage, which is demonstrated by relating the volumes of water granted, the hectares of crops planted and the actual water requirements for the aforementioned crops to achieve their maximum productivity.

Palabras clave

Agricultural products, Use of water, GIS, Irrigation, Vinces river basin

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