University of Cuenca, Cuenca, Ecuador

The University of Cuenca was funded in 1867. It is a public university with nearly 15.000 students and 1.000 professors organized in 12 faculties. It is located in the city of Cuenca, the 3rd largest city of Ecuador (≈ 500.000 habitants), a UNESCO World Heritage City. The University of Cuenca’s mission is to train professionals and scientists with a strong commitment to improving the quality of living in our society. Creativity, innovation, and academic quality are the University’s main drivers. UCuenca has 3 research departments relevant to CNRD, namely the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Sciences, the Department of Space and Population, and the Department of Electrical and Telecommunications Engineering.

Department of Water Resources and Environmental Sciences

The University of Cuenca’s Department of Water Resources and Environmental Sciences (iDRHICA) is an interdisciplinary academic unit that contributes to improving people’s quality of life through the generation of scientific and technological knowledge about water and its relation to natural and built systems, from a sustainable development perspective.

Research is organized around 3 units: Centre for Hydrology and Climate, Centre for Environmental Sanitation and Centre for Agroforestry and Landscape Management.

The Centre for Hydrology and Climate concentrates on studying the processes that drive the hydrological cycle. Particular attention is given to the soil-vegetation-atmosphere transfer mechanisms and the runoff generation processes. Climate and land use change are key research topics. Two (critical zone) ecohydrological observatories have been implemented for these purposes.

The Centre for Environmental Sanitation focuses on the processes responsible for the generation, transport, treatment, and re-use of wastewater. Research also includes the effects of contaminants on the environment and public health and the development of technologies tailored for medium size Andean cities and small, rural communities.

The Centre for Agroforestry and Landscape Management pursues the conservation, restoration, management and sustainable production of complex mountain landscapes, from a water resources perspective. Principles of forest ecology (for the propagation and reproduction of native species) and environmental economics are used to reach our goals.

Research Projects in Natural Resources Management

  • Mejoramiento de las estrategias de manejo forestal en los páramos del sur del Ecuador
  • Factores de éxito en la implementación de los instrumentos económicos para la protección de los servicios ecosistémicos hídricos y la percepción de la población acerca de su impacto
  • Innovative Ecological on-site Sanitation System for Water and Resource Savings – INNOQUA
  • Respuesta de semillas forestales nativas altoandinas al almacenamiento y estados de sequía con fines de restauración

BSc, MSc and Doctoral Programs relevant to CNRD

Activities in capacity development relevant to CNRD

  • Summer School: Hydrology of Andean Ecosystems


Pool of Experts

Forest ecology and landscape management Ximena Palomeque
Water quality and wastewater treatment Andrés Alvarado
Ecohydrology Patricio Crespo
Agroforestry Juan Iñamagua
Environmental Economics Javier Ávila
Human rights and environmental law Adriana Mora
River hydraulics and restoration Luis Timbe


Av. 12 de Abril &, Cuenca, Ecuador