Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2016-569
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2016-569

  15 Nov 2016

15 Nov 2016

Review status: this preprint was under review for the journal HESS but the revision was not accepted.

Quantification of runoff generation from a combined glacier and páramo catchment within an Ecological Reserve in the Ecuadorian highlands

Verónica Minaya1,2, Vivian Camacho Suarez3, Jochen Wenninger1,2, and Arthur Mynett1,2 Verónica Minaya et al.
  • 1Department of Water Science and Engineering, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, P.O. Box 3015, 2601 DA Delft, the Netherlands
  • 2Section of Water Resources, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5048, 2600 GA Delft, the Netherlands
  • 3University of Sheffield, Civil Engineering Department, Sheffield, UK

Abstract. Hydrological processes in combined glacier and páramo catchments are vitally important to serve the water needs of communities in the surrounding areas. Previous studies have shown that the melting of glaciers contributes to runoff generation and that the páramo ecosystem acts as a natural sponge, which plays an important role in regulating the runoff during the dry-season. However, not all runoff processes are well-understood in the Andean region due to the high spatial variability of precipitation, young volcanic ash soil properties, soil moisture dynamics and other local factors such as vegetation interception and high radiation that might influence the hydrological behaviour. In addition, there is a lack of evidence of the origin and quantification of the contribution of runoff components in the páramo ecosystem. This study focuses on data collection and experimental investigations in a small catchment (15.2 km2) within an ecological reserve in the Ecuadorian Andean region. The approach consists of the identification of suitable environmental tracers and hydrochemical features to identify the various runoff sources in order to determine their respective contribution during dry and wet conditions. The results show the great importance of the páramo on the contribution to total runoff during baseflow and rainfall conditions.

Verónica Minaya et al.

Verónica Minaya et al.

Verónica Minaya et al.

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Short summary
The study identifies suitable environmental tracers and hydrochemical features to identify and quantify the various runoff sources of a combined glacier and páramo catchment in the Ecuadorian highlands. The results give important information about the hydrological dynamics during dry and conditions. In addition, how this may affect the total water contribution to the reservoir that supplies water to the capital city. This research focuses on data collection and experimental investigations.