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Argentina ignores Paraguay; builds new canal to pump water from shared river

Thursday, September 23rd 2010 - 04:51 UTC
Full article 18 comments
Argentine ambassador in Paraguay was unaware of the dredging parallel to the Pilcomayo river Argentine ambassador in Paraguay was unaware of the dredging parallel to the Pilcomayo river

Landlocked and Mercosur member Paraguay will formally complain to its peer Argentina the non consulted and unilateral decision to build a canal adjacent to a shared river that acts as a natural border and provides both sides’ agriculture and ecosystems with a vital water supply.

The Pilcomayo River is born in the almighty Andes Mountains, cuts through the tropical Bolivian plains, and later becomes a long border stretch for the neighbouring countries before flowing into the Paraguay river, another powerful affluent of the Parana that ends in the River Plate.

According to Paraguayan Deputy Public Works minister Andres Rivarola and Lucia Amarilla from the Pilcomayo river commission who over flew the area, Argentina is dredging a new parallel canal, (800 metres long so far) that will ‘suck’ more than the 50/50 agreed water flow.

The Pilcomayo River has two outflow canals, one for each country, and currently Paraguay is most benefited because it complies with maintenance and clearance of the water course, which is not the case for Argentina.

However the new canal is further up stream and can potentially dry up the existing system which decided Paraguayan authorities to summon the Argentine ambassador for an explanation of what is happening.

Ambassador Rafael Romás admitted he was surprised by the news which he had read about in the local press.

“I’m really surprised. I have no instructions on the issue, I’m trying to talk with the officials of my country for further information but our chancellor is in New York, but we are searching for him”, said Romá who promised he would meet with Paraguayan Foreign Affairs minister Hector Lacognata to clear the situation.

Non official sources said that the public works task force involved in the new canal could belong to the neighbouring province of Formosa, but so far unconfirmed.

“If most of the water is flowing to Paraguay is because we keep our canal dredged, but this doesn’t mean you can dig a new canal upriver without even letting us know. We have bilateral accords and reversal notes covering the management and use of the Pilcomayo watercourse”, said Ms Amarilla.

“We are very surprised with the situation since we have regular meetings with Argentina and we were never informed of the new canal”, said deputy Public Works minister Rivarola.
In case the issue is stalled the Paraguayan Pilcomayo commission is working on five possible options to ensure the 50% of water supply.

“A whole ecosystem of over 200 kilometres on both sides down river is at stake if this new canal continues, besides affecting all the farming interests”, said Ms Amarilla.

“Thursday is D day for a solution or to address options”, added Rivarola.

Top Comments

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  • stick up your junta

    unilateral decision to build a canal

    I did it my way LOL

    Sep 23rd, 2010 - 06:26 am 0
  • Cadfael

    More argy theft ...typical!!

    Sep 23rd, 2010 - 08:06 am 0
  • Idlehands

    Wouldn't it be cheaper and simpler to just dredge the canal they already have?

    Sep 23rd, 2010 - 11:59 am 0
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