Developed with RARE, the project “Pride campaign for El Espinal and Roncesvalles” established Reciprocal Water Agreements as a tool for protection and conservation of watersheds and endangered species in the municipality. On September 13th the signing of the two agreements took place with the goal of incentivizing local farmers to preserve natural habitats and forests thus ensuring abundant and safe water resources for future generations.
Signing of Reciprocal Water Agreements. From left to right: Aleyda Oviedo (Secretary of the Court), Antonio Rivas (Committee Chairman), Alexander Bermúdez (Committee Secretary), Leidy Alarcón (outreach specialist) and Yesid Ocampo (property owner of Las Brisas.
The signing ceremony was held at the Municipal Court and was attended by Juan Antonio Rivas, the Chairman of the Committee for the protection and conservation of watersheds and endangered species, Secretary Alexander Bermúdez, ProAves local education coordinator Leidy Alarcon, Gonzalo Cardona, the committee member representing ProAves, Hernan Ocampo and Eduardo Ocampo, both local property owners.
Mr. Eduardo Ocampo (left), owner of the “Amberés” property located in the Cucuanita village, committed to conserve 2,718 acres hectares out of his 2,965 acres; and Mr. Hernán Ocampo (right) owner of the “Las Brisas” property contributed to the conservation 481 acres out of 583 acres of his property. Thus, property owners committed to preserving remnants of forest and paramo in exchange for incentives for their farms, not only benefit the property owners, but also the municipalities of Roncesvalles and El Espinal via the securing of water from the Cucuana river and its tributaries. The El Espinal community is dependent upon the Cucuana river for growing rice; and this new agreements promotes conservation of biodiversity and enhances the quality of life among its inhabitants.
It is a considerable effort to protect and conserve the environment, and the strong commitment and interest of property owners, along with the hard work of environmentalists, communities and ProAves supported by Foundación Loro Parque over 13 years, have contributed immensely to the success of the “Pride Roncesvalles” campaign. The implementation of Reciprocal Water Agreements, and the active participation of stakeholders involved in this process have contributed to the success of this new initiative: Antonio Rivas (City Council representative and chairman of the Committee), Alexander Bermúdez (Rep. of downstream users and secretary of the Committee), Norberto Rodríguez (rep of Water Company ESPRON), Maria del Rosario Peña (Mayor’s rep) and Gonzalo Cardona (rep. of environmental NGO).
At the conclusion of this historic event, the committee chairman invited the property owners and integral people to the “Signing of the Reciprocal Water Agreements as a means to promote pride and commitment to our natural resources” and said that these two agreements are just the beginning.
Thanks to the commitment each of these actors have shown, today Reciprocal Water Agreements are a reality in Roncesvalles, a pioneer town in the department of Tolima which has established long-term effective tools to encourage the protection and conservation of their natural resources.