The Cause

Río Marañón

Marañon Valley - Copyright John Servayge

Marañon Valley – Copyright John Servayge

The Marañón River is the hydrological source of the Amazon River. The Amazon is arguably the longest river in the world, and certainly the largest river system in world which supports an ENORMOUS amount of biodiversity.

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Life Along the Marañon – Sierrarios.org

The Marañón River forms the largest tributary to the Amazon, it runs through 10 district regions of Peru. 14% of Peru’s population live within these regions including Andean Peasants, indigenous Amazon peoples, riparian populations and urban communities. Hundreds of thousands of people depend on the Marañón either directly or indirectly for their livelihood. Further downstream at least 100 000 ribereños (river people) rely on this part of the Amazonian Rain forest for food and income. In short damming of this river will directly displace thousands of people and indirectly destroy many more peoples’ way of life. Extremely unique and diverse cultures will simply go under. ¹ ² ³

The Marañón is an area of incredible biodiversity, it supports a huge number of endangered species a number of which are endemic to this particular valley. ⁴ ⁵ Destruction of these ecosystems, and the Marañón’s natural hydrological cycle will have flow on effects (sadly, no pun intended) to hundreds of thousands of people and ecosystems downstream. ¹ ²

As of 2013, the Marañón is one of the few Amazonian tributaries that is still free-flowing. The remaining tributaries provide a vital link between Andean Highlands and Amazonian lowlands, essentially forming the lifeblood for the greater Amazon. As other tributaries are blocked, the importance of the remaining free flowing rivers are dramatically increased; cut these and the effects downstream could be enormous. ¹ ²

The former Peruvian President declared in 2011 that the construction of 20 dams on the Marañón was “in the national interest”. These dams are expected to produce 12 430 MW of electricity for the “national” grid. Some of this power will be used to expand mining interests in the Andes, and may also be exported to Brazil. Despite the ‘national interest’ of such a project, local peoples have not consulted, and many have been actively stopped from protesting by local authorities. ³

The Idea:

Dams planned for the Río Marañón

Dams planned for the Río Marañón

The only thing sadder than losing such an important and unique river system, would be to lose it with very little opposition and without the rest of the world even acknowledging this loss.

We are creating awareness of this issue on national and international levels, while calling for greater participation in decision making processes & adherence to social and environmental legislation.

References:

¹    World Rivers Review: International Rivers: Volume 28 – September 2013

²   Proliferation of Hydroelectric Dams in the Andean Amazon and Implications for Andes-Amazon Connectivity

³   Latin American Bureau: Peru: El Marañón -the environment, communities and rivers be dammed

   BirdLife International (2013) Endemic Bird Area factsheet: Marañón valley

   Nature and Culture.Org: Brief Description of Endemic Species and Importance of this region