Protecting the quality of water in the Orinoco River benefits a multitude of uses such as drinking water, food resources, fish habitat, recreation and irrigation. The water quality index assesses the status of water quality variables (dissolved oxygen, total suspended solids, chemical oxygen demand, electrical conductivity, and pH) based on data from the Environmental Information System.
The risks to water quality index estimates pressure to water quality due to pollution loads discharged by industry and water use by domestic, livestock, and coffee processing sectors.
The water supply and demand index is the balance between the availability of water in the watershed, environmental flow requirements, and the water demand by different economic sectors.
The natural land cover indicator measures landscape conversion by comparing the area of natural to non-natural (developed) in the basin, based on satellite imagery for 2012. Loss of natural land cover impacts biodiversity in the basin.
Forests are important resources in the Orinoco River Basin. They provide homes for not only wildlife, but also for humans. People rely on forests for many services, such as water, food, building materials, and clothing. Threatened animals also rely on forests for their food and shelter. Forests around the Orinoco are under threat from deforestation. Deforestation occurs not only from logging for timber goods, but also from fires, agriculture, ranching, and development. Deforestation impacts plants and animals as well as humans.
Wildlife depends on connectivity between different ecosystems and habitats.
Fire has been shaping parts of the savanna ecosystems for thousands of years. With increasing development and clearing of land for crops and livestock, too much fire pressure can be detrimental to valuable ecosystems such as morichale palms.
The Ecosystem Services Regulation Indicator is based on the average of Climate Regulation by Carbon Storage (PEMO 2013), Hydrologic Regulation Index that measures the amount of moisture that can be retained in basins (IDEAM 2015), and the Soil Erosion Susceptibility Zoning that shows the different erosion rates based on land assessment methods (IDEAM 2015).
The human nutrition indicator assesses the percentage of children aged 0-4 with a healthy body weight.
This indicator examines the presence of mining concessions within sensitive ecosystems including: páramos, montane forest, riparian forest, wetlands, and flooded savannas.
River dolphins are listed as a vulnerable species in Colombia and are an important indicator species of river health where they are present.