The Multiple Challenges
Edited by Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Christina Leb and Mara Tignino
Chapter 11: The Guaraní Aquifer Framework Agreement (2010)
South America has an abundant supply of both surface and underground freshwater, and the evapotranspiration of the Amazon forest in particular greatly contributes to the hydrological cycle. The continent’s two main regional fluvial basins, the Amazon and the La Plata river basins, overlap the large underground water reservoirs of the Amazon and the Guaraní Aquifer Systems. The Amazon Aquifer System extends over the Amazon and Orinoco hydrogeological provinces in South America, which host different aquifers consisting of both unconsolidated and consolidated sediments. The Aquifer System is estimated to cover 3 950 000 km2, of which 2 000 000 belong to the Alter de Chão formation and 1 200 000 are part of the Içá formation. It spreads across the territories of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, and stands as the largest South American Aquifer. In Brazil, it stretches over a large area at a thickness of 2200 m. as a free aquifer, although it also takes the form of a confined aquifer featuring great thickness. In Venezuela, it corresponds to the Province of the Orinoco and physiographically to the Venezuelan plains, covering an area of approximately 200 000 km2. It is characterized by aquifers of high yield and water quality.
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