The mayor wants to ban the cultivation of avocados and citrus fruits, responsible for the exploitation of water basins, to guarantee water to citizens
The mayor of Petorca, Gustavo Valdenegro, asked the government to ban avocado and citrus plantations in his municipality to save the already scarce water resources.
Valdenegro's request comes immediately after the words of the president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera: the government has declared the area of the municipalities of Valparaíso a "disaster zone", due to thea severe drought affecting the region.
Given the enormous severity of the drought, we decree a catastrophe zone in communes of Valparaíso. The area was already in an agricultural emergency because it has rained 70% less than a normal year. With the National Plan against drought, in full swing, we are combating this crisis and ensuring water for all
– Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) September 16, 2019
In the area it rained 70% less compared to the average and the whole territory has to deal with the lack of water, which causes a real agricultural emergency.
Since in Petorca many large companies exploit the lands with avocado and citrus plantations that require a lot of water, Valdenegro asked the government to ban the cultivation of these crops.
"There is no regulation, no one checks, no one asks for an environmental impact certificate, they prey on everything," said the mayor.
"I want to defend the territory" - continued the mayor - "I want it to be forbidden to plant avocados and citrus fruits, to reduce the authorizations to companies, otherwise the day will come when we will no longer have water"
Valdenegro accuses large companies of monopolizing water resources and to plunder water from the basin of the Petorca river which is causing excessive exploitation damage to flora, fauna and the entire ecosystem.
"These are looting, because there is no regulation, too many avocado and citrus plantations produce this type of over-exploitation of a basin that is absolutely impoverished," Valdenegro stressed.
Due to the drought, the mayor was forced to rationalize the water for the approximately 3.500 inhabitants of his municipality and now avocados receive a larger share of water than people.
“We use 100 liters of water for avocados and citrus fruits, while people get 50 liters. So who comes first? Avocados or people? " Valdenegro asks.
Piñera assured that thanks to the National Plan against Drought, the government is fighting the emergency and guaranteeing water for all. This is what the mayor of Petorca also hopes, hoping to be able to ensure sufficient water for its citizens.
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