EGU General Assembly 2022
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the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Insights from a transdisciplinary approach for water quality monitoring and multi-stakeholder management in the island of Santa Cruz, Galápagos (Ecuador)

Chiara Tringali1, Jonathan Rizzi2, Viviana Re3, Caterina Tuci4, Marta Mancin5, Edison Mendieta6,7, and Antonio Marcomini8
Chiara Tringali et al.
  • 1Independent researcher, Trieste, Italy (
  • 2Department of Geomatics, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Norway (
  • 3Earth Science Department, University of Pisa, Italy (
  • 4Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales, Ecuador (
  • 5Independent researcher, Venice, Italy (
  • 6Department of Urban Planning, Municipality of Loja, Ecuador (
  • 7Technical secretary of urban planning and sustainable development, Municipality of Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador (
  • 8Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, University Ca’ Foscari Venice, Italy (

The Galápagos Archipelago (Ecuador) is traditionally considered a living museum and showcase of evolution. The rich biodiversity and distinctive environment attract thousands of visitors every year. However, this tourist flow exerts continuous pressures on the natural environment, and on water resources in particular, to the detriment of the local population who is faced with the challenges of accessing safe and sustainable drinking resources.

For this reason, over the years numerous projects, especially in the context of international cooperation activities, have tried to assess the impact of anthropogenic activities on the water quality and quantity in the islands. Unfortunately, the lack of coordination among all these projects did not allow to carry out continuous monitoring and, above all, to obtain homogenous and consistent time series of the measured hydrogeochemical parameters.

For this reason, in the framework of a joint technical cooperation project (“Health protection and prevention of anthropic pollution risks” in the Island of Santa Cruz” financed by Veneto Region, Italy; CS2012A19) a comprehensive assessment on water quality data (physico-chemical parameters, major elements, trace elements and coliforms) collected since 1985 in the Santa Cruz Island was performed. Results revealed the need of optimizing monitoring efforts to fill knowledge gaps and to better target decision making processes. All data were therefore standardized, homogenized and collected in an open database, accessible to all water stakeholders involved in water control, management and protection in the island. 

The information gathering activity also revealed the lack of coordination between the stakeholders themselves and the presence overlapping interests towards water resources, which represent an obstacle for coordinated actions targeted to sustainable water resources management in such a fragile environment. 

Therefore, under the guidance of the Santa Cruz Municipality, a Water Committee was established to foster the coordinated action among the water stakeholders in the island. The latter range from national to local authorities (e.g. National Water Secretariat, Ministry of Agriculture, Ecuador Naval Oceanographic Institute, National Park Galapagos, Municipality), research institutes (Charles Darwin Foundation), bottled water companies and Santa Cruz Households. Within the committee, shared procedures for data collection, sample analysis, evaluation and data assessment by an open access geodatabase were agreed collectively and tested in the field. Joint monitoring in the island can optimize the efforts for water quality assessment and protection, and improve accountability and outreach towards civil society and water users. Such a coordinated action can also ensure that international cooperation activities carried out in the island will respond to the real needs of the local population, and results will contribute to the long-term protection of the scarce water resources in the island.

Overall, results of the project revealed the high potential of adopting transdisciplinary approaches in complex, multi-stakeholder, framework typical of small island states.

How to cite: Tringali, C., Rizzi, J., Re, V., Tuci, C., Mancin, M., Mendieta, E., and Marcomini, A.: Insights from a transdisciplinary approach for water quality monitoring and multi-stakeholder management in the island of Santa Cruz, Galápagos (Ecuador), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4383,, 2022.


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