Analysis of sustainability for Colombia, with particular attention to the role of water resources
Thesis DisciplineChemical and Process Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
This thesis strives to gain an understanding of the intricate issues surrounding ideas such as development, people's quality of life, water resources use and sustainability in the context of a country as complex as Colombia. The initial hypothesis was to determine whether Colombia could offer to its people a sustainable living. Having dealt with this, the following question was to determine the key role of water in the sustainability labyrinth and the ways to address the problems standing in the way of water and a sustainable living. Hartmut Bossel's analytical framework based on systems theory was used to define sustainability indicators for Colombia. The present failure to satisfy Colombians' basic needs illustrates how the country is not offering its people a sustainable living. The specific analysis of the indicators through the use of conceptual models suggested that the link between quality of life and water resources via water accessibility is crucial for the sustainability of the whole. Systems and holistic thinking enabled this thesis to come up with principles for working towards overcoming the unsustainabilities. The discussion led to conclude that a holistic approach is particularly important to address water accessibility and subsequently sustainability in Colombia. Ultimately, if Colombians can satisfy their basic needs, of which water accessibility is just one, it will free them up and enable them to tackle other issues related with quality of life in their society such as corruption and violence, as well as appropriate management of their resources. This will give rise to a sustainable living for the people of this land in South America.