Waterways without borders; community groups working together for cleaner water Print E-mail
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Friday, 09 March 2018 00:00

Over the last four weeks, a Friends for Conservation and Development FCD Environmental Educator has been busy in Belize City. Twenty primary schools, with a total of 2,485 students and 88 teachers have been sensitized on the importance of the Chiquibul-Mopan-Macal-Belize River and methods of protecting these rivers. (FCD is grateful to FYFFES for the support in making this possible.)

Such an educational effort comes at an opportune time, given that since 2010 FCD has been working with nine Guatemalan communities to protect the Chiquibul and Mopan Rivers. Just last week, a two year agreement was extended with the Comite Integral para la Proteccion de las Cuencas Chiquibul y Mopan of Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala for the ongoing effort. This agreement was signed between Rafael Manzanero, the Executive Director of FCD and Jose Arnulfo Mayen Navas, the President of the Melchor Committee.

It is important that FCD continues to work with stakeholders from Guatemala.

“We work with Guatemalan communities since they are stakeholders in two rivers, the Chiquibul and Mopan, which also connects us. The Chiquibul River starts from the headwaters of the Chiquibul National Park.  Then goes into Guatemala. It joins with the Mopan River at the community of Los Encuentros”, writes Rafael Manzanero, the Executive Director of FCD.

“In Guatemala these two rivers meet to carry the name, Mopan River. The Mopan then traverses the border into Belize. It joins with the Macal at Santa Familia to become the Belize River. So we are interconnected. To protect the rivers in Belize then we depend on the integrity of the water that comes from Guatemala.”

As noted by Dr. Ed Boles, a watershed expert in a landmark study, this watershed system is of regional importance to the Eastern Peten Department of Guatemala and of national importance to Belize. Our continued enjoyment of potable water in Belize may well depend on these watershed efforts across political borders.