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|Patgonia Rivers: Aguas Libres ( free waters ) Environmental Group in Southern Chile|
|Southern Chile Environmental Issues|
The Aguas Libres is a grassroots environmental group composed of both local Chileans and foreigners based in Futaleufu, Chile. It is intent on saving the rivers of Patagonia from the proposed hydroelectric dam projects of the Spanish based Power company Endesa. All Southern Chile and Patagonia is lending its support, and they need your help also to preserve Southern Chile.
Aguas Libres was first formed with the idea of stopping the dam project from ever becoming and issue on the Futaleufu river. Although the Futaleufu is under consideration as a possible dam site, it is expected that Endesa and the Chilean government will not give it serious consideration for at least another dozen years. Instead, Endesa is focusing on the rivers such as the Pasqua and Baker further south in the Chilean Patagonia. The intention is to create sufficient opposition locally to the Futaleufu river ever being a consideration. However, the members of Aguas Libre are aware that it would be wrong to simply protect the Futaleufu river at the expense of some other river in Southern Chile, and have expanded their goals to include opposing the dam projects across Patagonia.
All Southern Chile has been looking in to this controversy around the dam project on the Futaleufu. After close examination, we believe that the Futa river is less likely than other sites for one simple reason: Chile does not own all the water. By this we mean that the Futaleufu, that flows from Argentina already has a dam on the Argentina side of the boarder. It is essentially international water, and thus politically and economically risky for Endesa to build on the Futalefu. Endesas billion dollar investment would be subject to the political whims of Argentina, such as when they have decided to cut of gas supplies to Chile or raise the price of gas overnight. Also a particularly dry season could lead to the Argentina dam restricting the amount of water that flows through to Chile, leaving a Chilean dam high and dry.
We believe what is more likely to happen is Endesa will dam rivers that are completely within Chile such as the Baker. This is just one major reason we believe it is important that their be a united front to protect all the river of Patagonia and southern Chile from overly ambitious political and business decisions being made in Santiago and a world away in Europe. All Southern Chile has offered to lend our resources in terms of publicity, technical, and legal consulting to help Aguas Libres reach their goals.