Hundreds of farmers opposed to Mexico’s La Parota hydroelectric dam project ended a two-day blockade of water to the City of Acapulco from the Papagayo river just before Easter.
They vowed, however, to continue fighting government plans for the US$1B dam on the waterway. Protesters fear the dam will dry up the water supply to their farms and fisheries, and will benefit only tourist resorts. Federal Electricity Commission, the sponsor of the dam, says the dam is needed to supply electricity and water to the tourist city of Acapulco for the next 50 years.
Inhabitants of the area to be flooded by the dam (3000 people in total) would be paid $1900 an acre for their land, given new homes and be permitted to live on the edge of the newly-created lake, which officials say would be ideal for fishing and tourism. Many have accepted the deal.
Government officials acknowledge the river level will be low for about 18 months as the dam fills, but they promise to guarantee a minimum flow in the interim and higher-than-average water levels in following years. But opponents say it’s not a question of price, but of defending their way of life: fishing in the Papagayo and growing bananas, mangoes and other fruits on land their grandfathers farmed.