Study Area
Project Structure
Basin Hydrology
Coastal Hydrology
Fish Ecotoxicology
Socio-economics
Public Health
Management Plans

This research project is based in the coastal zone of Cartagena, Colombia. Located on the Caribbean coast in the north of Colombia, Cartagena and its surrounding beaches represent the country´s principal touristic destination. The project´s hydrological studies focus on Cartagena Bay, the Dique Canal and the Magdalena River watershed. The project´s socio-economic studies focus on the local communities in the areas surrounding Cartagena Bay, principally the communities of Ararca and Barú.

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The BASIC Project`s general objective is to generate adaptation tools for integrated coastal water resource management in the coastal zone of Cartagena, towards the reduction of pollution risks, ecosystem service conservation and climate change adaptation. The hydrology component of the project will be implemented by EAFIT. The University of Los Andes will lead the project´s socio-economic component with support from the Foundation H.E.O., while the University of Cartagena will carry out studies of public health in the communities.The management plan component will be done by independent consultants.

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Studies of fluvial hydrology are dedicated to research of the Magdalena River basin, with a focus on surface waters that flow from the Dique Canal towards Cartagena Bay.Analysis of the watershed´s human development and climatic conditions will permit modelling of the watershed´s runoff processes. Future scenarios of climate change and human development will be used to generate prognostics of freshwater discharge from the Dique Canal into Cartagena Bay.

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Studies of coastal hydrology focus on the monitoring of water quality and sediment in Cartagena Bay. Analysis of physico-chemical and microbiological parameters, as well as contaminants, will permit an impact assessment of human activities and climate variation on the sea, as well as the generation of vulnerability maps. Hydrodynamic modelling will be used for prognostics of the dispersion of fresh water from the Dique Canal into Cartagena Bay under future watershed scenarios.

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Studies of fish ecotoxicology focus on the artisanal fisheries of local communities in the islands surrounding Cartagena. Analysis of the genetic diversity and contaminant load found in the fish will permit an assessment of the impact of pollution onartisanal fisheries. This diagnostic complements the project´s socio-economic studies and provides an appropriation of knowledge to the local communities towards the optimization of their artisanal fisheries. Some of the local fishermen will be involved in theproject, assisting to collect baseline data on the fish (weight, size) and to collect samples used for genetic and toxicological analyses.

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The project´s socio-economic studies focus on artisanal fisheries and tourism, which are the main economic activities of local communities in the islands surrounding Cartagena. Analysis of the dynamics of these economic activities will permit a valuation of the potential impact that pollution could have on these communities. This work with the communities seeks to identify strategies that can alleviate potential socio-economic impacts of pollution on tourism, artisanal fisheries and public health.

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The project´s research of public health focuses on health indices related to problems of water management in the local communities in the islands surrounding Cartagena. The collection of information through surveys and existent documentation permits the identification of potential risks to which the communities could be exposed. The creation of a public knowledge base on these problems in the local communities forms the first step towards mitigation of such risks.

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An important strategy for water protection is at the political level and the use of management plans. However, management of the coastal system is divided among different administrations which which are responsible for the watershed, the coastal zone and the marine park separately. This component of the project seeks to find strategies to align these plans towards the integrated management of the continental basin, the sea and the coastal communities.

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Copyright © 2014-2017 BASIC Cartagena: Interacciones entre Cuencas, Mar y Comunidades – Basin Sea Interactions with
            Communities. Universidad EAFIT, Carrera 49 N° 7 Sur - 50, Medellín, Colombia.