War of Water: Dominican Republic plans to build a damn upstream of Haiti's longest river

Posted by Lenouvelliste on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 Under: Haiti/Dominican relations
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Dominican Senator Adriano Sanchez announced that his country plans to build a hydroelectric plant on the Artibonite river. This morning, on Magik9, agronomist Jean André Victor outlined the consequences that will be generated by the construction of such an infrastructure on the valley and on Péligre. According to him, the erection of such a dam on the river will affect both the quantity and quality of water.

To better understand the issue, Jean André Victor invites public opinion and the government to refer to the field of management of an international watercourse. It is, according to him, a river having a part in each of the two countries. "This is the case for the Artibonite River, for the Massacre River, Pedernales, etc. From now on, this is also the case for Lake Azuei since part of it has reached the Dominican territory because of floods. (...) The majority of these international rivers are upstream in the Dominican Republic. That said, Haiti should be the most sensitive country on this issue, "he says.

The former director of ODVA reminds that agreements have been signed between the two countries sharing the island around the management of these rivers. In these agreements, he continues, two things are stipulated. "First, one of the two countries must not alter the water if it comes from home. In addition, it can also use water without the detriment of the downstream state, "he says, noting that these two principles are included in the 1929 border agreement signed between the two countries.

The agronomist regrets that since then we have not managed the case properly. This attitude of the Haitian leaders has benefited the Dominicans. "In 1929, the two countries had 8 million inhabitants against 20 million today. So the pressures on natural resources are getting much stronger. Dominicans take advantage of our laxity and multiply dam projects on the Artibonite River. In 2012, I knew that they had 8 dam projects on this river and 4 others on the Massacre River. From 2012 to today, I do not know how many of these projects are running, "he said.

According to Jean André Victor, the Artibonite River is strategic for Haiti. Therefore, he says, its management must be strategic and scientific. "This river represents 40% of the irrigated land in the country, 75% of rice production. 1 million people live on this river. It also accounts for almost 90% of hydroelectric power generation, "he argues, adding that the construction of this dam will affect the amount of water we receive in the country. "The flow of the river decreases since samples have been taken from the tributaries that feed it," he argues, pointing out that in the same vein, a study reports on the degradation of water quality, compared to the study conducted by the Americans in 1929.

"Because of its cross-cutting nature, the management of the Artibonite River is a national security issue." The agronomist points out that the construction of this dam will have consequences for agriculture, energy production and socio-economic life. "You can not consider 3 days without water in the irrigation canals of the Artibonite Valley. Water is needed for livestock feed, for everyday use, for watering the land, and so on. Water is all-purpose, "he says.

In the opinion of the agronomist, there is a water war between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, he regrets, We on the Haitian side we are not aware. "And when we do not know we are at war, we are headed for defeat," he laments. Jovenel Moïse, who made water one of the essential elements - with the sun, the earth and the men - to develop the country, will he hear this alert and act beyond a slogan?

In : Haiti/Dominican relations 

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