Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Water vs. Oil

In Peru there's a "water versus oil dilemma" (Collyns, Dan, The oil companies want to drill in places that provide a lot of water for the country, particularly the poorer regions . . . poorer economically. The San Martin region lies in the oil area:
"The oil concession in question, Block 103, is held by a consortium.
Canadian oil company Talisman Energy is the largest partner with a 40%. Spain's Repsol and the Brazilian state company Petrobras have a 30% share each.
More than 70% of the Peruvian Amazon is divided into oil and gas concessions for exploration or exploitation The Peruvian government says it plans to be self-sufficient in oil and gas by 2011 In 2008 Peru produces nearly 50m barrel of crude oil Official figures says there are around 100 mining companies running more than 600 operations in Peru, in an area which covers 0.56% of national territory" (ibid).
But the area also includes a region that provides much water for the country:
"One-sixth of it belongs to the conservation area of the Cordillera Escalera, the only area the court ruling states cannot be touched.
Environmentalists say apart from the mountain range being home to rare wildlife, such as the spectacled bear, it is also a major source for the rivers in northern San Martin.
Situated on the eastern side of the much larger Andes mountains range, it is the first high ground to be hit by clouds that drift westward across the Amazon basin from the Atlantic Ocean on the other side of the continent.
That means a lot of rain, so the hills soak up the water like a sponge and literally seep water.
Drilling for oil in any part of the Cordillera Escalera could contaminate the entire watershed, say environmentalists.
"It's literally a water bank for the entire population here," says San Martin's regional governor, Cesar Villanueva. "We cannot allow it to be touched" (ibid).

But a conflict like that doesn't have to happen. There is an alternative that does not use oil or any fossil fuels and that will help preserve water and the entire environment. For more information, please see

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