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Mexican government allocates funds to complete the construction of El Zapotillo dam

The Blue Planet Project has been expressing its opposition to the ‘El Zapotillo’ dam in Mexico since January 2011.

The dam would likely be 105 metres tall, divert the course of the Verde River, involve the construction of a 140 kilometre long aqueduct, flood the towns of Temacapulín, Acasico and Palmarejo, displace the residents of these communities, and submerge cultural heritage sites and farmland.

The dam would divert water to the city of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco, the Los Altos region in Jalisco, and the city of León in the state of Guanajuato.

A major struggle has been under way to both stop the construction of the dam and/or to keep the height of the dam to 80 metres (which would mean the three communities would not be flooded).

In September 2012, despite popular mobilizations, about 40 per cent of the construction on the dam’s wall had been completed.

In November 2012, Blue Planet Project founder Maude Barlow visited Temacapulín with then-Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero Arena and commented, “This water could be found through conservation, rainwater harvesting, pollution control and protection of source water, and by investing in new pipes and infrastructure.”

In April 2015, Business News Americas reported, “Currently work is stopped with the dam wall 79.7 metres high, due to a court order [and that the] supreme court has also agreed to hear a case filed by a resident who has claimed the right not to be relocated and to live in a healthy environment.”

But on December 27 of this year, Business News Americas reported, “Federal authorities have confirmed the financial feasibility of completing the initiative, with funds earmarked next year in the federal budget.”

The delay now appears to be that the Governor of Jalisco state is refusing to sign an agreement to allow the dam to proceed until there is clarity about the division of water that would be received by Guadalajara, Los Altos, and León.

That said, the newspaper also reports that the Governor accepts that “the dam’s wall has to be 105 metres high to be technically feasible”, meaning that he accepts that the communities of Temacapulín, Acasico and Palmarejo (all three of which are situated in his state of Jalisco) would be flooded.

The Blue Planet Project continues to oppose the construction of major dams and to stand in solidarity with impacted communities.