Civic Committee for the Defense of the Guarinó River
(Translated by Steve Cagan, CSN Volunteer Translator)
The Civic Committee for the Defense of the Guarinó River and “No to the Diverter,” in the face of the swarm of functionaries that ISAGEN [an energy-generating company, among other things, connected to the Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy—SC] sent to La Dorada to spread the word about the “advantages” of the diverter, on Tuesday September 7, 2010, reiterated their robust opposition to diverting part of the river’s flow. The Committee’s final conclusion was that the water that runs off through the tunnel will definitely be gone. In that way, the water reserve needed to maintain the water table levels, or the underground water that is the reserve for droughts, located downstream from the diversion tunnel will be lost forever. On the other hand, more water will end up in the veredas [small rural communities—SC] already affected by their location downstream from the Amaní dam of the Miel 1 Hydroelectric Center. It will flood them more continuously, affecting their crops, fishing, tourism, recreation, etc
We pointed out that La Dorada and the region is a zone in which classic and hemorrhagic dengue fever are chronic. Permanently lowering the volumn of the Guarinó River will reduce the speed of flow; puddles will form and the habitat for the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which has already caused several deaths, will expand. Neither has it been determined that it will not affect the municipal aqueduct. The fishermen of the Charca know that the waterfalls that provide it with oxygen come from the Guarinó. Even now during a rainy period and without energy being generated, the Guarinó is just a thin sheet of water. The condition of several rivers can be seen from the bridges between Honda and La Dorada.
Among other people, council members, office secretaries, members of COMCHIDOR [Consejo Municipal de Cuencas Hidrográficas de La Dorada y la Región- Municipal Council of Watersheds of la Dorada and the Region—SC], fisherman, campesinos, members of the “Juntas de Acción Social” [Social Action Boards, governing bodies of the barrios—SC] and educators attended. The majority came from the urban district of La Dorada, but there were people from the rural area as well, including, in addition to those from La Charca de Guarinocito and Buenavista, people from Victoria and Berlin, who also consider themselves to be affected, some by the diversion of the Guarinó, and others because water springs have already begun to dry up due to the construction projects of the Manso diverter.
For the members of the Committee, the most aberrant aspect is that it was the Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, which is charged with protecting our surroundings, that granted the licenses to divert the Manso and Guarinó Rivers. We ratify our opposition to the diverter of the rivers, because it endangers our health and quality of life, agriculture, cattle raising, fishing, biodiversity, the right to a healthful environment, etc.
In La Dorada we have an excess of sun and a shortage of potable water. Why does ISAGEN not investigate and look for sources of energy that are less damaging to the planet and its inhabitants?
For the defense of the water, biodiversity and cultures, not one river more for the hydroelectric plants.
Electricity has substitute sources—it can be obtained in many ways. But not water!
Our struggle goes on. Members of the Civic Committee who attended the event:
Herenia Polania Pardo
La Dorada, September 10, 2010.