Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dam project on Lempa River

A hydroelectric dam to be built on a river between Honduras and El Salvador raises the common tensions between large infrastructure projects and the disruption to the lives of local landowners.

A story carried by the Inter Press Service describes the project and the controversy it creates:

The construction of El Tigre dam on the Lempa River, which forms a border between Honduras and El Salvador, has unleashed a wave of contradictory opinions. Some claim there will be a loss of sovereignty over natural resources, while others say the resulting reservoir will prevent another war between the two countries, this time over water.

The first efforts towards building this 1.5-billion dollar hydroelectric megadam, which would be 100 metres tall and flood 72 square kilometers, began three weeks ago. And border communities are demanding more information and greater participation in decisions on the project's scope.

The idea to build the dam, which will have the potential to supply energy to 70 percent of the Salvadoran population, emerged in 1991. But it was not until Apr. 16, 2006 that Presidents Manuel Zelaya of Honduras and Antonio Saca of El Salvador formalised the decision....

The first to be surprised by the dam construction announcement were the border villages in the western Honduran departments of Intibucá, Lempira and La Paz, which staged protests along the border and in Tegucigalpa, the capital. The reservoir and flooding are projected to affect at least six Honduran communities. And no plans have been made for their relocation.

According to Salvador Zúñiga, of the Honduran Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations (COPINH), the megaproject would displace some 20,000 people, although the government estimates put the total at around 5,000.

"We are ready to engage in dialogue, we are going to provide compensation, but now we are in the preparatory studies that will lead us to ongoing consultation with the affected populations of both countries and community leaders," said Jacobo Hernández, the Honduran commissioner for implementing the project, alongside his Salvadoran counterpart, Eduardo Zablah. (more)


inner self said...

this is an exciting project.
just like the northern highway.
this is similar to the changes the american south underwent during the better part and after the great depression. so yeah, the rural north of el salvador is destined to change. the thing to note is all the rapid industrial change the govt. is trying to bring there, projects that they didn't even consider through out the country's entire history. is there enough gold, or dare we even say oil somewhere around that land?

however, i think hydro-electricity and damning of rivers is too primitive and costly in territory in a small country where land is in high demand. the govt. should head toward nuclear technology to supply more than enough energy for the country and to sell to the rest of the central american region. the problem is, with a govt. as weak, corrupt and uncapable as that of el salvador, nuclear technology would jeopardize the health and safety of the entire planet. go figure.

one thing is clear, however, the country needs energy and infracstructure to create more jobs and a better life style for its citizens...A'vroue

kuss mich ich schprecha deutsch said...

personally, and i think all real and smart salvadorans, especially those from chalatenango, would feel that chalatenango needs altogether be liberated from the rest of el salvador. it has too long put up with such a useless, incompetent government. the government, since ever, have always neglected the rural north. i understand its lack of fertile land, resources and mountaneous location...but that's why we need to form our own independent nation, where we can exploit the few good qualities this department has to offer. with a smart and capable government this tiny department can out do the entire central america. but we're talking about a task that would literally take hundreds of years to bear its fruit...however, we are alwayz allowed to envision what's best for the greater good.