Concerns about oil spills, Parex’s “Water for All” aqueducts

Published by Brent Patterson on

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The Canadian Embassy’s Head of Trade in Colombia has tweeted: “More than 33,000 people from the department of Arauca will benefit from this aqueduct, which represents an investment of 35 billion pesos by the Canadian company @parex.”

“Water for All”

Parex has previously noted on its website: “Through [our Water for All] projects [including the installation of aqueducts], Parex has managed to convey to the community that oil projects can contribute to the provision of clean water where the Company operates.”

And in its 2020 Sustainability Report (on page 75), Parex further highlighted: “Parex continues to make progress in the Agua para Todos (Water for All) program.”

That report adds: “During the last three years the Company has managed to improve access, quality, and coverage of drinking water for close to 20,000 people in the departments of Casanare, Arauca, Cesar, Santander, Magdalena, Tolima, and Meta, with an investment of approximately COP $3,525 million (USD $954,425.5).”

And yet this charity isn’t always welcome.

Concerns about Parex in Ibagué and Piedras, Tolima

Two years ago, the Mayor of Ibagué, Guillermo Alfonso Jaramillo, commented: “The Ibagué plateau has the fourth most important aquifer in the country, it is clean and necessary water for the future of a city since surface water is scarce. What would happen if there is oil exploitation that contaminates those aquifers for us?”

And in July 2020, El Nuevo Dia reported: “In early July, the oil company … installed 230 metres of pipe for the community aqueduct of Doima, without consulting the aqueduct board or the users… Camilo Cifuentes, a resident of Piedras, said that people do not understand why despite the fact that there is a popular consultation that said no to mining and extractive activities Parex insists on operating in a municipality that is supposed to have been protected from this type of activity for about [the last] seven years.”

Ongoing concerns in Bajo Simacota, Santander

In March of this year, the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) tweeted: “For a healthy environment, CREDHOS accompanies and supports the processes in defense of water in the territory. We highlight the struggle of the Bajo Simacota community against contamination by oil spills, caused by Parex.”

“We defend water, because water is life, and I would not exchange a glass of water for a glass of oil.” – Adolfo Salinas Coba

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