By Jonathan Luna
Near the town of La Jagua, overlooking the Magdalena River, the landscape is dotted with concrete markers declaring the land, river, and everything else a “public utility” that Colombia has given to the energy company Emgesa as part of the Quimbo Hydroelectric Project. A construction permit was granted in May, with the dam scheduled for full operation by 2014.
The Quimbo dam would inundate about 8,800 hectares (ha) (34 square miles), displace some 1,500 rural peasants and eight community-owned cottage industries, and flood 842 ha of riparian forests and 2,000 ha of cultivated land, warned Dussán. It would severely cut “Agrado’s agricultural potential, resulting in its gross domestic product decreasing by at least 30 percent.”