Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and has the largest population in the country. The steady increase in population, along with the different existing environmental problems, put at stake the availability of water resources for future generations.
The Santo Domingo Water Fund is proposed as a tool to ensure sustainable conservation of producing and supplying watersheds for the capital city of the Dominican Republic. This will impact positively about 3 million Dominicans that are distributed in three different watersheds: Haina, Nizao and Ozama River.
OBJECTIVE THE WATER FUND
The Santo Domingo Water Fund has as its main aim to improve the health of ecosystems and water producers, as well as to reduce the inputs of sediment to the reservoirs to ensure the availability of water in sufficient quantity and quality to users, taking into account the potential impacts climate change, while increasing forest cover by restoring the ecosystems with the consequent benefit to preserve the country’s biological diversity.
It is expected that more than 3 million people will benefit from the investment in watershed conservation that will be implemented by the Santo Domingo Water Fund. There are also companies using the bulk water systems in their production or processing of products that will benefit from improved water quality and sustainable supply. As for reducing sedimentation, it will be a great contribution to the operation of hydroelectric dams and the storage capacity of reservoirs, making the power generating companies one of the biggest benneficiaries.
- Vegetation strip restoration of selected micro-watersheds
- Cloud and broadleaf ecosystem restoration
- Promotion of forestry and pastoral systems that allow the recovery of forest cover
- Foster the use of native and endemic plants in the coffee and cocoa programs under forest cover
- Development of an environmental education program around the issues of water quality and quantity
- Design and implementation of a aquatic and terrestial monitoring program
CURRENT STATUS OF PROGRESS
- Potential implementing partners identified
- An agreement has been signed with Bepensa (local Coca Cola bottling)
- Hydrological and Climate Change study done
- Socio-economic study conducted
- Legal/Institutional study in process
Nizao River Basin
The Nizao river basin, with only 103.602 hectares (1,036 km2) in extent, is one of the most productive in the country for its reservoirs system for power generation, supplying 40% of the drinking water of Santo Domingo and irrigating 14,000 hectares in Bani and San Cristobal. The Nizao river basin is occupied by 25,000 families, has an approximated density of 100 people per km2, relatively high, but concentrated in main urban areas. 50% of the area is cultivated with coffee (19%), intensive crops (10%), sugar (10%) and mixed crops, pastures and other (11%). The remaining 50% is occupied by forests of different categories.
The environmental problems of the basin have been generated throughout years of intervention, deforestation and earthmoving for all different types of works, uncovered roads and mismanagement of the hydrodynamics of the basin that has high propensity to torrents. The current most serious problem in the basin, for its effects on productive capacity, is the sedimentation and loss of reservoir capacity and the loss of land for agriculture due to the lack of conservation measures in deforested areas.
Haina River Basin
The Haina River Basin provides 20% of the water to the aqueduct of the capital city. This basin is one of the sources of water supply of the city of Santo Domingo, through three hydraulic systems: Isa – Mana (0.6 m3 / s), Duey-Guananitos (1.0m3 / s) and Haina-Manoguayabo (4.0 m3 / s). The main environmental problems of the basin are the pollution of water sources by sediments, solid and liquid waste, the depletion of fresh water sources, the improper use and management of the grounds, the slashing, burning, hunting and overfishing, the pollution costs, exploitation of aggregates and intensive livestock farming in the hillside grounds.
Ozama River Basin
The high population density in the basin is observed in the coastal area and on both banks of the Ozama River. Although the industrial development of the basin is relatively recent, having started in the 60s, it has become of priority use and is responsible for the high degree of contamination. There are important industrial complexes established on the banks of rivers, but only in the National District 181 have been identified sources of pollution. There is also a high microbiological contamination of mainly coliforms from sewage from upstream populations that go directly to supply water to the National District.
THE BEGINING OF THE FUND
The launch event was held on Tuesday, October 02, 2013. A partnership between The Nature Conservancy (TNC), The National Network of Business Support for Environmental Protection (ECORED), the Water Supply Corporation and Aqueduct and Sewer Corporation of Santo Domingo (CAASD) and the FUDPHU was signed. The partnership’s goal is to define the institutions that will take part in the initial scheme of the Fund and to define the best ways of establishing the initiative in the country legally.
- The Nature Conservancy
- BEPENSA, embotelladora Coca-Cola
- PROPAGAS, envasadora de gas
- FUDPHU, ONG Academia
- CAASD, Corporación de Acueductos Y Alcantarillado de Santo Domingo
- ECORED, Red Nacional de Apoyo Empresarial a la Protección Ambiental
- Fundación FEMSA
- Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID)
- Fondo para el Medio Ambiente Mundial (FMAM)
- CEDAF, Centro para el Desarrollo Agropecuario y Forestal