By Claudia Acosta
If there is one thing that people from Cuenca are proud of, it is our water. The flavor, quality, rivers, and more that make up this generous and vital resource for our city. Yet, few people know about the importance of its history and origin, something that should truly be taught in schools. We need to understand the journey this precious liquid takes to get from rivers to houses, the networks, channels and above all, where the water
source originates from.
The water that arrives at our houses originates from the mountains, from the beautiful massif of Cajas, a sanctuary of life and biospheric reservoir. It is in these zones where the reserves of our water are and where our water originates from. It is an area that must be protected and cared for. For the past few years, I have attended talks and meetings regarding the importance of water in our city as it relates to high-altitude mining. Listening to this information, which has been ignored for far too long, alarmed me. I couldn’t comprehend why this information has not been talked about, shared, or acknowledged by the news or media.
As citizens we need to inform ourselves, ask questions, and demand answers. It turns out that we have 113,688 acres of mining wasteland. Did we know this? Do we understand the risk that this mining poses to our water sources? Many people think that Canadian mining is the best, but does that mean it is without risk? Do we remember what happened at Giant Mine, in Yellowknife, Canada with the release of arsenic dust? What is arsenic and what does it have to do with the exploitation of gold? Why do we need to get more gold out of the ground? These are questions we should be asking, researching, and understanding when only 7% of the gold extracted from mines is used for medicine and technology, while the other 93% is for gold bars and jewelry.
As a final reflection, we have left this fight to be fought by those only in the mining world, when it should really be a concern of all citizens. We should unite as Cuencanos to defend water rights, where 80% of inhabitants have said no to metallic mining. Mining will not generate wealth or growth in this city, but foster greed, division, and conflict. The jobs that mining offers are only temporary and they leave devastation and poverty for years to come. The wealth of countries is not found in its mines, it is found from keeping its natural resources intact, flourishing its forests, and protecting its water sources. This ensures the existence and resources of hundreds of species, giving them fresh, clean, and drinkable water, a truly invaluable resource.
I invite you to visit the work of Juana Cordova in Sala Dentro and take a look at the calendar of activities that they offer. It is never too late to get involved.