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Panama Canal for social work by taking on projects in the basin

Panama City, July 8 (Prensa Latina) The administrator of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), Ricaurte Vázquez, highlighted today that social work and attention to communities is essential before assuming any project in the hydrographic basin.

In a press conference regarding the most recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice that repealed the 2006 law and expanded the limits of that territorial space to another 120 thousand hectares of the western zone, he said that the first thing is the exchange and permanent consultation with its current inhabitants.

Vásquez indicated that the ACP will continue to carry out the work within the basin where more than 10 thousand property titles have been managed, benefiting more than 150 thousand persons.

This policy is more necessary now, he said, referring to the project to build a multipurpose reservoir in Río Indio to supply drinking water to the population -some two million people-, another of his responsibilities, along with the operations of vessel transit. To questions from the media, Vázquez answered that the Río Indio reservoir project would take about six years with an initial investment of $1.2 billion for its construction and filling; and then 400 million dollars to assist affected communities.

The expert applauded the ruling of the CSJ but recalled that the calculation of the budgetary provisions for 2025 already provided for this and other development projects in the Basin and also takes into account a planning of up to 50 years taking into account the possible behavior of the levels of rain and other climatic effects, such as the intense drought that hit the country in 2023.

The ACP administrator reiterated the importance of talking to people, of reducing uncertainty in reference to the socio-environmental baseline of each interoceanic highway project, a patient and constant work as was done two years before the expansion and the third set of locks in 2016.

To another question from the press, Vázquez specified that for the development and maintenance of the basin with its current limits, the ACP has allocated about 75 million dollars and now with the expansion of those limits in the next five years it could be twice as much. what was used, stated Vázquez.

Recently in a statement, the ACP considered that the areas recovered with the CSJ ruling include Río Indio, which is part of the project presented to ensure the vital liquid for human consumption and Canal operations, and new reservoirs are not necessary.

The basin has territories in the provinces of Panama, Panama Oeste and Colón, it includes seven districts, 43 townships and around 460 populated places.

Due to its location and orientation, abundant rainfall is recorded in the Basin for much of the year and among the main rivers the Chagres, Gatún, Boquerón, Pequeno, Cirí Grande and Trinidad stand out.

On the subject, the new Minister for Canal Affairs, José Ramón Icaza, asserted it will be a priority in the administration of the new President of the Republic, José Raúl Mulino, to resolve the problem of the Indio River proposal, as an alternative solution to the crisis facing the road after an intense drought.

Three percent of all global maritime trade transits through this interoceanic route and 180 routes from 170 countries are connected.