Research / Projects

Alto Maipo – A pilot study about the impact of a hydroplant expansion in a cultural, economic and environmentally sensitive environment. Cajón de Maipo (Chile)

A number of years ago, the construction of a 70 kilometer long pipeline was approved by the Chilean State. When finished, the pipeline will capture and divert the water of five rivers in the Maipo valley, located north east of the capital city, Santiago. The rivers constitute an important source of water for agricultural land, to support the life of plants and animals in an important tourism area and it contributes to the water supply of Santiago.
According to its critics, this pipeline threatens to dry out the rivers, which can cause a disaster for sensitive eco systems that hosts a large number of endemic species and a unique fauna. It also threatens the remnants of the Southern Andes mountain agriculture, a flourishing tourism sector and a fertile agriculture.
In the press, the project owner (a large mining company) and the Chilean state, are accused of violating current environmental legislation. And the approval of the pipeline is said to be the result of corruption at the highest level. 
The purpose of this pilot project is to conduct an institutional, explorative study in order to get an overview of the dilemmas and conflicts of interest surrounding the construction of the pipeline. Some of the questions to be answered are: Which are the potential problems and/or benefits that this pipeline can give rise to? How have authorities decided on the trade-offs between economic growth and environmental problems? Is it possible to find solutions to save the sensitive nature and the cultural heritage in this area? 

This project has been terminated, however some publications are in pipeline.



In: Gobernanza territorial y Sistemas Agroalimentarios Localizados en la Nueva Ruralidad. Mexico City : Universidad Nacional de Mexico (UNAM), 2017. 94-101.

Este artículo hace énfasis en el impacto que la planta hidroeléctrica Alto Maipo tiene en el sistema agroalimentario localizado en el Cajón del Maipo, Chile. La pregunta a responder es: Que tipo de impacto/externalidad positiva o negativa ha ejercido la construcción de la planta Alto Maipo sobre la transhumancia en el area? Una importante conclusion del estudio piloto es que a pesar de que se realizó una extensa investigación previa la construcción del Alto Maipo, los posibles impactos sobre la transhumancia y por lo tanto en antiguos sistemas agroalimentarios localizados en el área han sido altamente descuidados. Hasta la fecha, los resultados muestran cómo un impacto exógeno en las instituciones locales, que unian el paisaje, las personas, los animales y los productos han sido alterados a través de la creación de oportunidades alternativas de ingresos y han forzado el cambio. Los acontecimientos actuales generaron oportunidades de ingreso alternativas en el corto plaxo, pero tambien generaron impactos negativos de largo plazo en los modos de vida  y en la naturaleza. 

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Paulina Rytkönen

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe



School of Social Sciences
Business Administration

Research area for doctoral studies

Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society



Project Manager

Paulina Rytkönen
Senior Lecturer
School of Social Sciences

More information

Project start: 2015
Project end: 2016

Financier: Financed internally

Research linked to the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe: No

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School/centre to which the project is linked

Research area for doctoral studies to which the project is linked