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Indigenous communities, ‘main heroes’ of the rescue of Lake Pátzcuaro: academic

Indigenous communities, ‘main heroes’ of the rescue of Lake Pátzcuaro: academic
Indigenous communities, ‘main heroes’ of the rescue of Lake Pátzcuaro: academic
In the last 30 years, the surface area of ​​Lake Pátzcuaro has been reduced by almost half.

Morelia, Mich.- The indigenous peoples are the main heroes of the rescue of Lake Pátzcuaro, said Arturo Chacón Torres, professor-researcher and dean of the Institute of Research in Natural Resources (Inirena) of the Michoacana University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo (UMSN), who, however, recognized that public policies by governments have also contributed in some way.

“Yes, definitely, but the real heroes are the indigenous communities,” said the professor.

As an example, said the limnologist, who has been studying the waters of Michoacán for 47 years, the indigenous peoples of the Ribera area recently uncovered six springs on the island of Urandén de Morelos, which produce from 4.6 liters per second, the least, to 76, the most, the latter being equivalent to the production of a deep well.

“This means that, in one year, these springs will provide us with up to 8 million cubic meters for Lake Pátzcuaro,” he calculated.

Unlike what would happen with those responsible for public policies, indigenous peoples have sought out academic workers committed to these causes, Chacón Torres added in response to a direct question.

Residents of Zirahuén are organizing to prevent the extraction of water from the lake. |Photo: CSIM

This week, he explained, a forum was held at the Regional Cooperation Center for Adult Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (CREFAL), with the aim of building a common front for the rescue of Lake Pátzcuaro, which in the last two years lost a total of 400 of the 550 million cubic meters it has capacity.

Although he expressed optimism that the combined forces of organized civil society and academia, in addition, of course, to what the rainy season brings, could recover at least 300 million cubic meters, he also regretted that, while this work is being done, the authorities are torn between political will and the desire to take the lead.

Regarding the first, he gave the example that irrigation district number 20, in the municipality of Álvaro Obregón, uses 300 cubic meters per second of water from the Cointzio dam, which could very well be extracted, he said, from the treatment plant located in Atapaneo, thus leaving the potable resource for the use of the population.

As a general fact, he added that of the 71 percent of drinking water used in agricultural activities, 40 percent is wasted, mainly in runoff and in the basins, an issue that is only due to the lack of will of the authorities to change the vision in public policies.

As for the second point, he pointed out that political protagonism is the number one enemy of cross-cutting work between all State institutions and government departments, which, on the other hand, has forced indigenous communities to work alone to rescue their aquifers.

The Cointzio Dam provides water to more than 302,000 of the 849,000 inhabitants of the capital of Michoacán. | Facebook Explorando Michoacán.

Arturo Chacón explained that Michoacán is, after Jalisco, the state with the greatest hydrological resources in the Mexican Republic, since it has 18 lakes, 260 dams, 44 rivers, 1,200 springs and more than 6,000 wells with healthy water levels.

However, although it is still far from crises like those in Nuevo León, he added, since the end of 2022 to date it has lost about 5 thousand of the 12 billion cubic meters of water, so this year it would have to rain 1.50 meters of water to be able to recover its original volumes.

 
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