The Importance of Fresh Water

Ya’axche rangers Victor Bonilla and Anignazio Makin live in Indian Creek Village, near the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve.  In the text below they describe why water is important to their community and explain their work in a ranger-oriented water quality monitoring program implemented by Ya’axche to reduce sedimentary and poor quality run-off to rivers and creeks.

Anignazio Makin measures flow rates in the Golden Stream

Anignazio Makin measures flow rates in the Golden Stream

“Water is very important in our community because it is not abundant. There are not many sources in our village, just a couple of creeks which flow to the Golden Stream. We use water for washing clothes and dishes, washing vehicles, bathing, tilapia ponds, washing homes and swimming. Water is also needed to construct the highway linking northern and southern Belize. All of these things can make the quality of the creeks worse, especially where forest along the riverbanks has been chopped.

“In the wet season people use the creeks so it is important they are of good quality. In the dry season they mostly dry up, so most of the villagers find other ways to get water. One is a new water system which uses electrical power and is expensive after the monthly flat rate is reached. Using only the flat rate is difficult. Families are big, up to 14 children, and not everyone has jobs so water is used sparingly and mainly for drinking, washing and cooking. After the monthly limit is reached most villagers use the Golden Stream for washing clothes.

“Many of us are farmers. We need water for farming. People make their fields ready in the dry season and plant crops in the last month before the rains. Some wait for the first rains before planting. This way the crops get water naturally. After the rains ease, another field is prepared so the crop can get water when the rain starts again. By farming this way, people reduce the amount of water they need to find for their crops.

Victor Bonilla looks for macro-invertebrates in the Golden Stream

Victor Bonilla looks for macro-invertebrates in the Golden Stream

“The Golden Stream Corridor Preserve is managed by Ya’axché which has a program in watershed protection to raise awareness in our community about the need to protect rivers and water quality. Rangers are being trained in water quality assessment where we learn about what water quality really is and how to keep it clean for us and the environment. As part of the program we grow seedlings (e.g. mahogany and cedar) and encourage planting along the stream banks to help protect the creeks where the forest has been chopped. It is easy to take rivers for granted, but we see immediate impacts of activities on the quality of the rivers and creeks and then on our lives. Our water quality is very good now, but we need to appreciate it for all its worth and protect it for our future generations.”

This text was developed in support of World Water Day.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] healthy eating to increase community health.  Land management encourages maintained employment.  Water maintenance ensures continuity of that resource.  We also gain funding for research on alternative crops and […]

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