Water balance components in the paramo of Jatunsacha, Ecuador

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Sergio Fernando Torres Romero http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9743-1381
Carlos Oswaldo Proaño Santos http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2105-1811


Precipitation, discharge, evapotranspiration, soil moisture dynamics, hydrology


The neotropical paramo is a high mountain biome distributed from the upper side of the andean forest to the permanent snow line of such ecosystems. From a hydrological point of view, this kind of ecosystem is characterized by maintaining a constant amount of base flow, as a result of the interaction of several of its water balance components such as: precipitation; soil moisture and evapotranspiration. Therefore, Andean communities and population located downstream of the catchment are able to count with enough water most of the year. The main objective of this research work is to perform an assessment of the influence of such water balance in the zone of Jatunsacha paramos. This research work is carried out based on the collection, evaluation and processing of hydrologic data from stages located in the zone of the Antisana. Such information will be used as a decision making support tool for the conservation and management of recharge zones in the northern part of Ecuador. In accordance with the obtained results, the dynamics of the hydrologic regime depends on: the frequent occurrence of low intensity, low volume and short duration rainfall events; soil moisture variability at both field capacity and the point of saturation; a relatively low evapotranspiration; a highly variable flow discharge that generates a low discharge coefficient; and, a high rate of percolation which is typical from porous zones such as the volcanic paramo zones.
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