Municipalities are flooded because the banks of the rivers are deforested

Municipalities are flooded because the banks of the rivers are deforested

The records of the Government, specifically those of the Service of Channeling of Waters and Regularization of the Piraí River (Searpi), show that this 2021 there were extraordinary floods of the rivers, which broke records since 1976.

Experts attribute this intensity of rains to the La Niña phenomenon, but also to a series of anthropic activities that are fueling climate change. One of them it is deforestation for agricultural purposes.

A report recently prepared by Searpi shows the percentages of loss of tree cover on the riverbanks in seven municipalities of the Integrated North, but in addition, a violation of the Land Use Plan Law (PLUS) and the Forest Law that protects the conservation easement of rivers.

The document summarizes the monitoring carried out in Montero, Portachuelo, Saavedra, Mineros, Fernández Alonso and Santa Rosa del Sara. In Montero, the loss of forest cover on the riverbank reaches 11%; in Portachuelo 19%; in Saavedra 18%; in Fernández Alonso 32%; in San Pedro 25%; in Santa Rosa 16%; and the most serious case is that of Miners, whose deforestation of the conservation easement area reaches 46%.

Apart from this damage in rural areas, in the capital of Santa Cruz the deforestation in the cordon ecological reaches 23.47%, which corresponds to the part of servidumbrand ecological, and the pressure is increasing, to the extent that there are already pavement and real estate projects, in addition to the almost ten neighborhoods and buildings that have pierced this protection zone and also threaten the La Madre curichi.

“In mighty rivers, the conservation easement is 100 meters per side of the bank, according to the Article 25 of the regulations of the Forestry Law 1700 ”, explained José Antonio Rivero, Watershed Management Coordinator of Searpi.

Rivero explained that conservation easements are legal limitations to the rights of use and exploitation imposed on a property, due to the conservation and sustainability of natural resources renewable. “This means that you can own it, but you cannot touch that part ”, he added.

In the case of Piraí, Rivero explained that it is a river that can be eroded on its banks, and that it can be flooded in its entirety. “It is sand and if the ravine is not it has vegetation, there is erosion ”, he indicated. He put Mineros as a negative example, which has enough problems because above all the curves (meanders), which is where the river collides, are deforested to return to its course. “And that is exactly where the gaps open, and if there is no vegetation to cushion the blow, the water enters,” he warned.

The Searpi study also shows departmental PLUS and INRA data among the municipalities San Pedro and Santa Rosa del Sara. According to the PLUS Law, this area is considered within the GE-F category, which prohibits land allocation, mechanized clearing, forest concessions, and restricts the opening of roads because it is a space of high ecological value due to biodiversity and with a regime of periodic floods.

Despite restrictions and prohibitions, the Searpi’s report reflects a number of INRA qualifications, including trade unions agrarians in an area that is not an agricultural vocation.

It is precisely at this geographical point, known as El Remanso, where a gap was opened that affects the conservation easement. “What is striking is that all this provision has been made by decree and We all know that a decree is not above the PLUS Law. And they are registered with INRA, all this is what causes the floods, everything is titled, with registration, ”said Rivero.

The watershed director who explained that the problem with this tenure is that the restrictions imposed by the norm, such as that of local roads within the conservation easement, even by responsibility of the same authorities municipalities and owners.

Regarding the problem of flooding in areas surrounding the drainage network of the Piraí river basin, Karol Vivancos, environmental engineer and specialist in water quality, infers as the main cause deforestation due to the change of land use before andl Unplanned urban growth, the development of activities of the productive economic system located in areas declared of restricted use and protection, which largely violates the provisions of the Departmental Plan of Territorial Ordering of Santa Cruz.

According to Vivancos, in the integrated North, deforestation due to agriculture and livestock is large-scale, and the impact on riparian forests is the one of greatest concern, since this vegetation should be prioritized to maintain the dynamics of the river and the existing biodiversity in the lower basin.

“The existence of large areas of bare soils and climate changes, with disturbances in the cycles of precipitation and increased speed of winds, which do not find a wooded barrier as a wall containment, lead to floods in the face of extreme hydrometeorological events, evidencing these adverse effects of socioeconomic affectation in vulnerable areas ”, he said.

The director of Searpi, Ricardo Arana, agreed that the easement area in that area has been completely violated. He recalled that in August the Searpi already warned the agricultural producers of Cao and Anapo “that if things continue as they have been up to now and they do not want to attend to everything that iss asked, which is to pay attention to the rivers, they will end up changing their tractors for canoes ”.

The protection of the conservation easement area is the responsibility of the Forest and Land Authority (ABT). The departmental director, Luis Flores, assured that the ABT controls compliance with these protection areas through instruments of monitoring such as IPDM (Dismantling Plans Reports), and that when viewed Non-compliance is sanctioned according to the sanctioning guideline for agricultural forestry contraventions (ABT 042/2016).

“The ABT has always sanctioned these violations and they are sanctions monetary, according to the surface affected. Also in some cases their clearing rights are revoked ”, he asserted.

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