The Water Crisis in Casanare

(Translated by Stacey Schlau, a CSN Volunteer Translator)

Source: REDHER [Red de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia]

The Water Crisis in Casanare: Another Way to Attack Life
April 2, 2014

We all have a historic responsibility to recognize and confront the environmental degradation stemming from [land] exploitation and oil drilling in the Department of Casanare. Although droughts are a cyclical phenomenon in the plains, the excessively parched soil there is the consequence primarily of more than two decades of seismic exploration and oil drilling in the region. On one hand, seismic waves, which are really a system of explosions in the sub-soil, create subterranean cracks that increase the depth of the normal current of surface waters, to the point that one may see how dry the sugar cane fields, wetlands, estuaries, and rivers, and streams have become, when they used to serve as sources for the inhabitants of different parts of the region in the summer. On the other hand, oil drilling, which is done through a system of hydrological injection, contaminates about 15 barrels of water for each barrel of petroleum, as oil engineers and workers in the industry have pointed out.

Today, our country requires about 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day to meet energy consumption needs. Nevertheless, more than 1,000,000 (a million) barrels are produced daily, with more than 70% coming from Arauca, Casanare, and Meta, thus sustaining the business of multinational companies and national politicians in the worst contract in Latin America for drilling for hydrocarbons. In the Orinoco region, which has 40% of the country’s reserves of subterranean water, about 15,000,000 (fifteen million) barrels daily of water are used up with the oil drilling activities.

We call for the Colombian government to take responsibility for promoting the tendency toward a policy of indiscriminate destruction of natural resources: legislators, Ministry of the Environment, autonomous regional corporations, in this case Corporinoquia. How is damage from seismic waves and oil drilling to be repaired? The Colombian government and the oil companies should take responsibility, not only for the current drought crisis, but also for wiping out social movements, and the environmental and social debt they have continued to owe the region during the last 30 years.

Therefore, as peasants, students, teachers, workers, women, indigenous peoples, and victims in general, we must continue to defend water, the fundamental ingredient of life for all, until national policy regarding mining energy is corrected and our legitimate right to sovereignty in our own territories is recognized.

Signed by:
Organizaciones Sociales de Casanare, Boyacá y Cundinamarca
Corporación social para la asesoría y Capacitación Comunitaria COSPACC
Asociación Nacional Campesina José Antonio Galán Zorro Asonalca Boyacá-Casanare
Asociación de jóvenes de Casanare AJOCARE
Corporación Claretiana Norman Pérez Bello
Organización Regional Indígena de Casanare ORIC
Movimiento Juvenil y Popular Quinua

(This translation may be reprinted as long as its content remains unaltered and the source, author and translator are cited.)

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