By Ricardo da Cruz e Sousa, 2012.

This project was the result of an University of California, Berkeley Master of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning thesis entitled: Participatory Stormwater Management for Quito, Ecuador - Ortega Watershed Demonstration Area.

The poor conditions of the creeks in some peripheral areas of Quito triggered interest by the local water district, Empresa Pública Metropolitana de Agua Potable y Saneamiento (EPMAPS), in sustainable alternatives to watershed management.

Until recently, conventionally engineered solutions such as retaining walls and debris traps and, in many cases culverting the creeks, were seen as the best option.

Using a selected site in the Ortega Watershed as a demonstration project, this project explored the potential of Participatory Stormwater Management as a viable alternative to urban runoff that could be replicated in the entire watershed and other watersheds of the city.

The local impoverished community lives at risk to flooding and expropriation processes are long and costly for the city. Nevertheless, the community is clearly concerned about the problem and wants to look for collaborative solutions.

One of the project's goals was to investigate effective ways to educate the community on Participatory Stormwater Management. The strategy ended up being the creation of a comic book describing the problem and presenting some solutions in a simple and accessible way.

The project received so much media and political attention that a city ordinance declaring all city creeks a priority for restoration and protection came out in June of 2012.

Since then several creek restoration projects have been built in the City of Quito!


Local partner:  Empresa Pública Metropolitana de Agua Potable y Saneamiento de Quito.

Total budget:  $1,850