Crop Protection

Multi-Stakeholder Roundtable passes a Joint Action Plan to manage and protect water resources in Chile’s Salar de Atacama Basin

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10 April 2024, US: With this Joint Action Plan, participants of a Multi-Stakeholder Roundtable (Mesa Multiactor) have agreed on a framework for natural resource management in the Salar de Atacama basin in Chile. The Action Plan was one of the crucial goals of the project funded by the Responsible Lithium Partnership of BASF, BMW Group, the former Daimler AG (now Daimler Truck AG and Mercedes-Benz Group AG), Fairphone, and Volkswagen Group.

For the first time in the Salar de Atacama, around 20 organizations (among them representatives of indigenous communities, civil society, academia and the public and private sectors) are collaborating.

The ecosystem of Salar de Atacama is fragile and there is lack of scientific knowledge on the impacts of lithium mining and other economic activities. Potential risks derived from water and brine table shifts could affect ecosystems and local livelihoods. Water availability emerged as the dominant topic in the Mesa Multiactor, thus taking a central role in the project. The protection of valuable habitat and the Salar’s unique biodiversity are further key concerns.

The local participants have agreed on 30 measures in the Action Plan, including the creation of a cadastre of water rights holders on the river basin, geological and hydrological mapping, campaigns on the challenges of water scarcity, provision of drinking water to local communities, and recycling of grey water. Several of the actions are already completed, others are underway or prioritized for the future.

Furthermore, the Mesa Multiactor has addressed scientific uncertainties surrounding water in the Salar by screening and making available more than 300 studies and reports through a public and accessible library.

The participants have extended the project until February 2025, at the same time aiming to institutionalize the roundtable to ensure their work continues beyond that time.

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