Drought in Pasorapa

  • Pasorapa is located approximately 280 kilometers from the city of Cochabamba in the province of Campero (see map below)
  • Around 950 families (5,000 people) are spread out across 33 communities
  • The primary economic activity is based on agriculture and livestock herding

Crisis in Pasorapa

Tucked away in a southeast corner of the department of Cochabamba the small agricultural communities living in Pasorapa have been confronted with a threat to their way of life. This menace hasn’t come in the form of a multinational corporation attempting to privatize its water or an overzealous government seeking to exploit its natural resources. Rather this emperilled population has been suffering from its worst succession of droughts in recent memory, with grave consequences for their two primary sources of economic stability – agricultural production and cattle rearing.

A field laid bare in Pasorapa (2010)

Speaking with a representative of the local government, it became clear that the magnitude of these droughts was unprecedented. “I am thirty-something years old and I’ve never seen a drought like this one. The desperation was astonishing, you know? To see how the people cried and cried…’the water tank doesn’t come to assist me”

A consistent supply of water is a prerequisite for survival. Without it crops fail, livestock are left without forage and soon people become desperate enough to leave their communities in search of other opportunities. In Pasorapa the outward migration is a growing concern as young people have flocked to the major urban centers of La Paz and Cochabamba in search of the opportunities that are dwindling with each passing year where they grew up.

A farmer in Pasorapa points to the corpse of one of his cattle herd (2010)

A farmer in Pasorapa points to the corpse of one of his cattle herd (2010)

Dependent on Livestock

Pasorapa is a rural area heavily reliant on livestock as a economic engine. Consequently, the strength of the droughts they have experienced over the past two dry seasons have devastated the local economy.

 

In February 2012, Mayor Cintia Avilia estimated that nearly 80 percent of the 30,000 cattle in the municipality are at risk due to the severity of the year’s dry season.
 

 

Read much more about the drought in Pasorapa and how it interacts with patterns of vulnerability and migration in Pasorapa: When the Well Runs Dry


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Other Resources on Drought and Related Impacts

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This video (in Spanish with English subtitles) is one of a series from CIPCA about the impacts of climate change in Bolivia. This chapter focuses on ‘Drought and Fire’: