Thursday, February 15, 2007

Water for El Salvador -- more reading

Some additional resources for anyone who wants to explore water issues in greater depth:

The Water Debate -- BBC News.

Context matters: how state forms and reforms influence water provision in Latin America, Haglund-Gomez, November 2006

ID21 Urban Development -- British site with articles on water and sanitation issues worldwide.

Private Sector Participation and the Poor -- paper looking at various privatization projects.

1998 Water Resources Assessment of El Salvador -- US Army Corps of Engineers

Water Aid International -- international NGO dedicated to water and sanitation issues.

Running Dry: the humanitarian impact of the global water crisis -- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Water - El Salvador -- Public Citizen

Water and Development -- section of Global Issues web site.

1 comment:

HODAD26 said...

i sent Tim an e mail i received from SHARE in regards to the mining issue in El Salvador and Congressman Michaud
here is the text of the letter:
Support community efforts to halt gold mining in El Salvador!
Urge your congressperson to support the struggle against mining! (see how below)
Communities in rural El Salvador are being threatened by mining exploration and extraction. These communities are gravely concerned that mining activities-large-scale open-pit and subterranean excavations using a cyanide extraction process-will exacerbate levels of deforestation, pollute water supplies, contaminate air and soil, and jeopardize the health of affected communities.
Late in 2006, the U.S. government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) awarded $461 million to El Salvador. The MCC's stated goals include the reduction of poverty, promotion of democratic, responsive institutions, and environmental preservation. El Salvador's application for these funds emphasized assistance for small- and medium-sized producers to expand their markets, the expansion of agricultural production, and the creation of a "green zone" to attract tourism. All funding will be channeled to the northern region of the country (ie Chalatenango, Cabañas, Morazán, Santa Ana).
Yet the mining projects' potentially devastating effects, which include water shortages, water, air and soil pollution, deforestation and health risks, run counter to the MCC goals.
It is also troubling that community demands for the right to consultation on the uses of their lands have been met with the deployment of the Salvadoran military to the area. In communities such as Arcatao, we have received reports of an unexplained military presence in the area following local protests against mining.
The letter below, to be signed by members of the U.S. House of Representatives and already sponsored by four members, urges Salvadoran legislators to support a mining reform bill that would ban metallic mineral mining in El Salvador. Approval of this reform law would represent a major victory in the struggle to halt mining operations in El Salvador--please join us to help make this dream a reality!
We ask you to email and call your congressperson (find their contact information at ) and urge her/him to sign on to the letter below. The deadline for signature is Friday, February 23.

To sign onto the letter, your representative should contact Kim Thompson in Rep. Mike Michaud's office by phone (202-225-6306) or email

1. Identify yourself as a constituent and ask for the legislative aide who covers foreign policy/Latin America/El Salvador.
2. Introduce yourself and tell the aide who you represent (a sister parish, a school, a committee, etc).
3. Ask the aide if s/he has seen Rep. Michaud's Dear Colleague letter on mining in El Salvador. Encourage her/him to have the representative sign on. Explain that you don't want mining to jeopardize development and community well-being in El Salvador.
4. Offer to send her/him the Dear Colleague Letter if s/he hasn't seen it.
5. Tell her/him how to contact Rep. Michaud's office, and that the signing deadline is Feb. 23.
6. Send an email to letting us know that you called your representative, the name of the person you spoke with, and whether or not the office will support the letter.
If you get a voice mail, leave your name and contact information, ask that the representative support the Dear Colleague letter, and request a telephone call back.

For more information and any questions, contact SHARE at 202.319.5542.

THANK YOU for your action to halt mining in El Salvador!


Dear Colleague,

We are writing to ask you to co-sign the attached letter regarding the incompatibility of mining operations with Millennium Challenge Account funds to El Salvador authorized by Congress.

The letter urges Salvadoran legislators to support a proposal to support a mining reform bill before them that would ban metallic metal mining excavation. Such projects are incompatible both with the purpose of the Millennium Challenge Account and with the environmental guarantees the Government of El Salvador proposed in its application for MCA funds.

To sign onto the letter, please contact Kim Thompson in Rep. Mike Michaud's office at 5-6306 or email The deadline for signing is Friday, February 23.

Michael H. Michaud, Member of Congress
Jim McDermott, Member of Congress

Tammy Baldwin, Member of Congress

Michael Capuano, Member of Congress


February 2007
Lic. Guillermo Antonio Gallegos Navarrete, ARENA

Profesor Salvador Sánchez Cerén, FMLN

Señor Luis Roberto Angulo Samayoa, PCN

Coronel Carlos Rolando Herrarte, PDC

Dr. Héctor Miguel Antonio Dada Hirezi, CD

Dear Sirs:

We are writing to express our concern that funds allocated for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact with El Salvador will fail to advance MCC sustainable growth and development goals due to metallic mineral mining activity proposed for the same region targeted by the compact. Proposed mining activities are incompatible with the aims that the MCC and the Salvadoran government have articulated in the compact and jeopardize the compact's success.

We write to highlight our concerns and to ask for your serious consideration of the mining reform law awaiting review by the Economic and Agricultural Commission of the Legislative Assembly. This reform law would prohibit metallic mineral mining in El Salvador, thereby protecting the environmental integrity of northern El Salvador and helping to safeguard the aims of MCC funding.

El Salvador's compact with the MCC includes funds to support agricultural reactivation and ecotourism in the northern region of the country. The compact proposal specifically noted the "transcendental importance" of the environment and of human development to the success of the compact.

Over the past year, the Salvadoran government has awarded 30 licenses for metal exploration and one license for metal exploitation (extraction) to mining companies from Canada, the U.S., and Australia. We believe that metallic mineral mining activity is incompatible with agricultural reactivation and ecotourism because of its negative effects on the environment and on Salvadoran society.

Through communities in some of our congressional districts which are partnered with affected Salvadoran communities, we are aware that the local population is alarmed about these effects and has made clear its strong opposition to prospective mining projects in their communities.

These negative effects include:

• Water shortages: El Salvador suffers from chronic water shortages of water, yet it is estimated that 200,000 liters of water a day will be needed for the mineral extraction process. Water shortages are poised to become a potential source of conflict and social upheaval in El Salvador.
• Increased deforestation: In 2005, the United Nations Development Program ranked El Salvador as the most highly deforested country in the world. Open pit and/or subterranean mining will destroy precious trees and woods vital to the ecotourism and agricultural plans of the MCC compact.
• Water pollution: Most mining activities will occur in the Lempa River basin. Not only does the Lempa River provide water to the northern region of El Salvador, but it also supplies an estimated 30% of the drinking water to the capital city. The cyanide-based process that separates mineral from rock will pollute the Lempa River and secondary rivers flowing from it, risking the health of people and animals using the rivers' water for consumption and irrigation, compromising agricultural, fishing, and cattle raising land use, and threatening the proposed "green zone" envisaged in the MCC compact.
• Health issues: Mineral extraction will pollute the air with toxic mercury, cyanide and sulfur dioxide gases. Theses gases have been linked to pulmonary and respiratory illnesses, cancer, miscarriages, fetal deformities and are known to cause headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, skin problems, and vertigo.

These effects are directly contrary to El Salvador's Millennium Challenge Account proposal which states that "inhabitants in the Northern Zone will benefit from having access to potable water and sanitation services... reduced incidence of illness, reduced health care costs, diminished time to obtain water, reduced costs for water, and reduced harm to the environment." (p.10 Summary of the Proposal for Financial Support from the Millennium Challenge Corporation May 2006).

The threat of metallic mineral mining jeopardizing the success of sustainable development plans for northern El Salvador can be halted now, before extraction advances. We urge you and your colleagues to carefully consider the legislation that would prohibit metallic mineral mining in El Salvador.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.


Michael H. Michaud, Member of Congress

Jim McDermott, Member of Congress

Tammy Baldwin, Member of Congress

Michael Capuano, Member of Congress

Make your representative the next to sign on!