After nearly 17 years of creative resistance and six visits from the man who is now Mexico’s president – three of them in recent months — the tiny colonial town of Temacapulín has become a model in the resolution of water-related conflicts.
The non-linear combined efforts of professor-activists like Dussán and integrated systems researchers like Angarita are helping to shift the tide against mega-dams in Colombia, paving the way for a more just and sustainable energy transition.
A completely unnecessary and high-risk dam once budgeted at $8 billion in 2014 will now cost more than $16 billion due to geotechnical problems tied to trying to build on shifting shales with no bedrock.
In recent years, this remote pueblo of 400 full-time inhabitants in Jalisco, about two hours from Guadalajara, has stepped into the national spotlight, standing up to a total of eight governors in two different states over the years and taking their fight all the way to Los Pinos, the Mexican White House. If the townsfolk get their way, it will probably be the first time that a mega-dam will be dismantled before it is ever used.
In Mexico, according to the 2012 report, Dams, Rights of the Peoples and Impunity, more than 4,200 dam projects have been built in Mexico alone, causing the displacement and forced eviction of more than 185,000 people from all over the country.