The Pacuare River has been slated for an expansive hydro project for more than 20+ years now. The project has met with resistance nationally and internationally. No matter the sentiment of the rest of the world, national sentiment is what counts.
Several years ago, the small town of Turrialba, Costa Rica made news when it held a referandum vote about the Dos Montanas project on the Pacuare. With a greater than 90% turnout for the vote–more than 90% of the town voted against the project. While a referandum vote does not itself change the future of the project, it may have changed history as that vote has been the incentive behind a number of Latin American countries standing up for theirselves and saying “no” to projects that will not benefit them.
On November 01, 2009, the current president of ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad–the national electricity company of CR) agreed to a moritorium on the Pacuare River for 20 years. While this could change with a change of administration within ICE, it allows parties to work together on permanent protection for the Pacuare River–working towards something simliar to a Wild & Scenic designation such as we have in the US.
There is no river more deserving of a Wild & Scenic designation than the Pacuare. So this is the best news the Pacuare River has had since the hydro project was made public so many years ago. Floating through the Dos Montanas Canyon this week, there was a feeling of peace as we have not had in some time knowing that this treasure of nature has a little more time…..