Press release by CAjAR
In the 2017 sentence SU-698 in Colombia, the constitutional court ruled on a suit filed in order to protect right to water, health and food security of more than 30 Wayuu communities that depend on the Bruno Stream for access to water. Additionally, the sentence recognizes that the municipalities of Albania and Maicao also rely on this important water source, whose diversion would directly affect more than 200,000 people.
Even though the diversion project has already been initiated with the river’s original course already blocked and the construction of a new artificial riverbed 3.6 kilometers long, the Constitutional Court ruled that there are grave uncertainties regarding the real impacts of the project. Studies conducted by the environmental authorities that licensed the project, ANLA and Corpoguajira, opted for a limited study that only evaluated the ways in which the expansion would impact the immediate area of intervention, which occurs within property of the company Carbones del Cerrejón.
The planning of the Arroyo Bruno project neglected to evaluate 1) the effect that the diversion and exploitation of the original riverway could have on the water flow where the stream joins the Ranchería River; 2) the consequences of deforesting as many as 150,000 hectares of dry tropical forest; 3) the stress that this will place on the aquifers and the subterranean water via the removal of subsoil; 4) the impacts related to the uses and customs of the Wayuu communities that depend on its vital ecosystem services; and 5) the link between the diversion and climate change, and its impact on a
region that already suffers from water shortage. The court also called for an investigation of the ten interventions in the rivers and waterways that the company has already carried out.
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