For Chile, 2019 has been one of the driest years in the last six decades, exacerbating existing water crises across different regions of the country. In some areas, the rainfall deficit exceeds 90 percent, resulting in the diminished Andean snowpack, reservoir volumes, and groundwater levels across central Chile. The central government had little choice but to declare a water emergency for 17 of the 52 communes comprising the Metropolitan Region.
This declaration gave authorities access to funds for social assistance programs for breeders and farmers, including one project for Chile Flying Labs back in August.
In the rural community of Paine, located 50 kilometers from the Chilean capital of Santiago, the town’s agricultural industry has been hugely affected by increased desertification due to climate change. With river discharge and, thus, nutrient exportation into the sea severely decreased, a substantial decrease in vegetation productivity was observed in the shrubland‐dominated, northern sector of central Chile. To give visibility to the project, the recently-created Ministry of Science and Technology invited Chile Flying Labs and the local schools to a science fair. While there, middle school students interacted with younger students to motivate them to be more creative and innovative. Working with the participating school students, Chile Flying Labs obtained data from the biological cycles, including bee pollination processes and soil management.
We expect to use the data collected, to create a general manual that will remain in the community and help them improve their water and soil management against the mounting challenges of climate change. The first results of this collaborative work will be seen in December of this year. Once reviewed, we will share our updates on the WeRobotics blog.