Ecuador A decade of resistance against a hydroelectric plant

Despite police repression and harassment from government officials and workers of the company Hidrotambo, the community of San Pablo de Amalí, province of Bolívar, maintains its opposition to the construction of a hydroelectric dam that would alter their farming activities.

Clashes with police and soldiers have led to several lawsuits over sabotage and terrorism; however this has failed to intimidate the local population that has been fighting  for 10 years.

In 2003, during the administration of former President Lucio Gutiérrez (2003-2005), the company Hidrotambo (a consortium of Plasticaucho Industrial, Electrogen, Corporación para la Investigación Energética and Spanish firm Ingehydro) got the National Directorate of Water Resources — which is today called the National Water Secretariat — to grant it a 50-year concession for more than 90 percent of the Dulcepamba River basin. The company’s intention was to build a hydroelectric dam that would contribute eight megawatts to the national power grid.

The concession allowed for about 5,400 liters/second during the rainy season and 1,960 liters/second in the dry season. In 2005, shortly before the Ecuadoran Congress ousted Gutiérrez, Hidrotambo secured a rate of 6,500 liters/second.

The project will affect the 74 communities in the Dulcepamba River basin, from San Pablo, in the upper reaches of the mountain range, to San Pablo de Amalí, in the subtropics where the dam is built. According to the non-governmental organization Ecological Action, about 45,000 people will be affected, but compensation is only provided for two families whose farms are in the dam’s construction site.

Source | LA Press