Rivers’ death sentence: lumbering, cattle ranching, cash crops
Santo Domingo.- The situation of its rivers threaten Dominican Republic’s electricity generation, agricultural production and potable water consumption, as the basins have been victims of deforestation by humans.
As is a death sentence weighing over the water sources, the rivers are now agonizing; although as recent as the 1990s they had important volumes, but are only a mantle of sand and stones today.
The environmentalist Eleuterio Martinez, cited by news source listin.com.do, affirms that the upper and medium river basins are ravaged for their precious wood, as well as to plant cash crops and cattle grazing.
The crisis hasn’t spared not even the most critical region, which supplies water to nearly 80 percent of the Dominican population and a large part of Haiti’s, called Mother of the Waters -the Central Mountain Range.
Martinez said the area, which is five percent of the national territory has such a high value as a water source that it’s protected by five national parks. But the resulting deforestation from precious wood trafficking, farming and cattle ranching have eroded soils away, serious threatening to balance between land and water resources. “Our aspiration is that the rivers have a stable volume, because most of them have water only in times of rain and run dry days later.”
The ecologist said there’s a chain of rivers in the southern municipalities of San Cristóbal, Baní, Azua, Neiba, San José de Ocoa and San Juan which agonize or have been totally dried because the forests which had nurtured their basins no longer exist; Nigua, Baní, Ocoa, Yubaso, Tábara, Panzo, Neiba and San Juan, which have water only during torrential rains, but disappears after a few days.
More pathetic still is the situation of the rivers in Azua province, where most have died except the South Yaque, with eight cubic meters per second of water for agricultural production through the Ysura canal.
Adding to that is the fact that most small rivers have such a low volume and only in their upper basin, that they disappear when they enter a city.