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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

World Water Day

Some folks think the twenty-first century will be the century of concern for water. We very well may run out of useful water before other resources are exhausted, especially given our predisposition to destroy the quality of many water resources. The Nicaraguan government has declared that access to water is a priority for all people.

We at FUNDECI/GAIA celebrated World Water Day March 22 with the Nicaraguan government and civil society at the Masaya Volcano National Park. The people present represented the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MARENA), the Ministry of Health (MINSA), the Nicaraguan Water Company (ENACAL), members of the municipal governments of Masaya, Nandasmo, Nindiri, and Masatepe, and many people from non-governmental organizations, including FUNDECI and the Indigenous community of Monimbo. Our focus for this day was Lake Masaya, a marvelous but tragically contaminated volcanic crater lake inside the Volcano Masaya caldera. We spent the morning with local schoolchildren, observing the fish and water of the lake, and in the afternoon, we participated in a forum discussing the situation of this lake.

World Water Day
Solid waste from surrounding communities collects along the waterline in Lake Masaya. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.

Lake Masaya receives inconceivable quantities of liquid and solid waste. Hundreds of gallons of polluted wastewater from Masaya pour into Lake Masaya each hour, and trash enters from communities in several directions. The lake is filling in from sediments and solid waste, and the fish are dying in large numbers. The incredible scenery of this lake from a distance is ruined by the shoreline littered with plastic and the putrid water.

Nicaragua has so many great sources of water, and so many of them have been destroyed. Lake Managua, also known as Xolotlan, is terribly polluted, but once was a source of drinking water for Managua. Tiscapa, like Lake Masaya, receives overwhelming quantities of municipal runoff and garbage with each rain. Nejapa went completely dry recently. Lake Apoyo is still beautiful but facing enormous quantities of trash from visitors.

World Water Day
Volcano Masaya National Park Director Liliana Diaz and a local youth admire a fish from Lake Masaya. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
In spite of horrendous quantities of trash in and along the shore of Laguna de Masaya, the lake is teeming with life. Local children and park rangers admired the fishes dredged from the lake with seine nets. The local children knew all the names, because they eat the fish!
Members of MARENA, the local community, and staff from FUNDECI/GAIA debated the dilemma facing Laguna de Masaya. Photo by Wendy van Kooten.
Presentations on water issues in the lake and vicinity were made throughout the afternoon. The presentations were attended by members of the municipal governments throughout the region, along with the ministries of health, agriculture, and the environment, and members of communities including Masaya, Masatepe, Nindiri, and Nandasmo.

World Water Day Nicaragua
Jeffrey McCrary demonstrates the varieties of fish inhabiting Lake Masaya to members of the government and civil society on World Water Day. 

Nicaragua World Water Day
Lilian Diaz, the Director of Volcano Masaya National Park, shares with the public on World Water Day. 
Masaya Nicaragua
Lake Masaya as seen from the Santiago Crater of Volcano Masaya.
Would you like to help protect the water bodies of Nicaragua? FUNDECI/GAIA can arrange volunteer projects and internships in Lake Apoyo and other locations. You can make a difference and save the most precious single resource for future generations. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer.
World Water Day Masaya
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll pour myself a glass of water right now!