Local March 11, 2023 | 9:03 am

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Environmental abuse of the Tireo River leads to its death

Tireo, Constanza, DR
Community leaders and farmers of the municipal district of Tireo demand the urgent intervention of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources authorities to avoid the final extinction of the Tireo river, which is subjected to voracious depredation and has it on the verge of disappearing.

Along the river, whose source is in the Cruz de Cuaba section of this municipal district, there are numerous pumps with thick hoses that suck the water from the riverbed to irrigate the plots of land.

The agricultural producers of greater economic or political power have the exclusive use of the river’s waters since they have it dammed in several sections, which prevents the continuous flow of the little volume that it currently carries, thus harming other farmers of lesser resources, and even decreasing the capacity of the Pinalito hydroelectric dam, since this river, together with the Blanco river, are the primary sources of supply of the same.

Due to the dams, large tube wells, and deforestation in this river basin, the little flow is cut off in several parts of its course, as seen in the region corresponding to Tireo Arriba.

A farmer who preferred anonymity told this newspaper that the disaster of this critical water source is the responsibility of “the powerful” of Tireo, whom the authorities are afraid to confront, and demanded concrete actions from the government to correct the anomaly.

Causes of the agony of the river

Professor Francisco Santos (Miguel), Catholic Church activist, cooperative, and president of the Union of Neighborhood Councils of Tireo, described the current situation of the river as serious, blaming it on the farmers who have deforested the upper part of the river and those who have numerous tube wells. “The Tireo river is in an emergency situation. As of late there have been these times of drought, the river has practically dried up. And not only because of the great deforestation that there is, above all, in the source of this river, which is the part of Cruz de Cuaba, El Paragua, that these zones have been made into agriculture, but also because of the tube wells.”

He said that many tube wells and the predatory practices in the river basin have been drying up all the waterways and tributaries, including many springs that have disappeared due to agriculture.

He indicated that the previous government’s rescue plan of the aquiferous zones, as far as Tireo is concerned, has been a resounding failure because there has been no reforestation where it is needed. After the current authorities came in, the old practices of misuse of natural resources were resumed.

Urgent call

For the small producer, Julio Cepeda Suriel, what is happening to the Tireo river and other water sources on the verge of disappearing is frightening.

Cepeda Suriel proposes that the authorities and the local farmers “get their act together” and initiate immediate reforestation.

“What is happening to the Tireo River is calamitous; it’s scary. The river, you can go through it in a flat, and you don’t get wet. It is something that fills us, the residents here, with concern. I think we should get our act together and start reforesting even the riverbanks.”

He said that not only the Tireo river is dying, but also the one in El Café and others, a situation that is causing many losses to the producers.

“We invite those people who work in Cruz de Cuaba and those parts to please not to cut down so many trees; not to have such a criminal hand, because we are going to run out of water and it will be a bad thing for everyone,” he said.

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