‘Where there is no engineer’ is an initiative from The Dublin Institute of Technology and Engineers Without Borders, Ireland. It focuses on community resilience and one particular case study looks at asparagus production in the Ica region of Peru. Most of this region is more than 4,000 meters above sea level, and has an average rainfall of less than 1 mm a year, so hyper-arid. Despite its height temperatures are warm and conditions for growth are perfect as there is no dormant phase. By 2008, 100 square kilometres had been turned over to grow asparagus, and the resulting pressure on ground water began to take its toll with extraction vastly outstripping recharge. In some areas the water table dropped by 8m per year, one of the fastest rates of aquifer depletion in the world. Traditional farmers, alpaca herders and the city’s inhabitants are all losing out to the dominant agribusinesses. More info here.

Asparagus growing in Peru  – Peru – ech2o newsletter snippet