Important wetland rescue and water recovery actions in Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila


This is the report of rescue and water recovery actions in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila.

Coahuila must take care of this resource, ensuring its rational use, and raise awareness about the importance of preserving water “which is a human right.”

The project aims to restore and create wetland areas. To date, more than 40 hectares have been recovered without affecting the use of water at the agricultural-livestock level.

The National Water Commission (Conagua) promotes the sustainable use of water and different actions for the modernization of irrigation, in addition to the construction of new hydraulic infrastructure.

At the same time, the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) are working on initiatives to replace high-demand crops, support the control of invasive species and promote environmental culture programs.

In 2019 there were only 250 hectares of wetlands and with the work of the agencies, the recovery increased by more than 16 percent.

In the La Becerra river, the open-air channel was diverted to the Garabatal river and 50 liters per second and 12 hectares of wetlands were recovered.

The Cuatrociénegas Valley is the most relevant wetland in the Chihuahuan desert. Since 1994 it has been a Protected Natural Area with an area of ​​84 thousand hectares. It has more than 250 pools between springs, swamps, and wetlands.

The unregulated economic activities, the development of human settlements and the overexploitation of its wetlands caused the decrease of its water levels in Cuatro Cienegas, impacting the endemic flora and fauna. Agriculture and disorderly tourism are the activities that have generated the greatest impact in the region.

The general director of Conagua, Blanca Jiménez Cisneros, indicated that at the beginning of the government the recovery of Cuatro Ciénegas was presented as an exclusively water problem, however she assured that “it is much more complex to solve but not impossible.”

It is, she said, actions of territorial ordering, environmental and water management, and an economic development model that will require the sum of the wills of all sectors of society and of the three levels of government.

“We must ensure the water to recover ancient wetlands but we must also guarantee the supply for human settlements, tourism and farmers without affecting sources of employment,” she remarked.

The head of Semarnat, María Luisa Albores, affirmed that in Mexico there are 90 million hectares of Protected Natural Areas that represent a legacy for the population.

She said that the agency in charge of her will strengthen the efforts to comply with the presidential instruction to guarantee the human right to water and to a healthy and clean environment. In addition, it will defend the environment from private interests.

“Together with CONANP, together with Conagua, we are building a strategy for the responsible use of water in agriculture that reconciles ecological conservation and agricultural needs from models that favor the development of those who live in this region,” she emphasized.

The president was accompanied by the governor of Coahuila, Miguel Ángel Riquelme Solís; the National Commissioner for Protected Natural Areas, Roberto Aviña Carlín and the municipal president of Cuatro Ciénegas, Yolanda Cantú Moncada.


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