The Kalu Yala Blog
September 24, 2010by Lanier Clement
Posted In: Voices of Kalu Yala
Becoming a member of the Kalu Yala team has increased my concern for the preservation of natural resources, mainly fresh water. The team has reserved one night a week for movie night to keep everyone informed on global issues. Our first movie was Blue Gold: World Water Wars, an award-winning documentary by Sam Bozzo. This movie, about sustaining the supply of fresh water, introduces the reality of a possible third World War due to the current water crisis.
When I arrived in Panama, I was disappointed to hear that the water surrounding the city is polluted and swimming is not recommended. However, we have a beautiful view of the Bahia de Panama (Bay of Panama) and the ships waiting to go through the canal from our fifth floor apartment. The Bahia de Panama opens into the Pacific Ocean. The city’s sewage runs through the city and into the Bahia de Panama, which was once clean with beaches. The government is working on a new urban sewage system, which will take about fifteen years. Hopefully by then, Bahia de Panama will be clean of sewage and people can enjoy swimming.
Before coming down here, I was told to only drink bottled water while in Panama. This is not the case. To my surprise, the tap water is safe to drink in urban parts of Panama and is served at all restaurants. I was skeptical at first because who wants Montezuma’s Revenge? This is a huge relief because it will save us money, and we won’t be supporting private water companies.
The Iguana and Pacora Rivers that flow through the Kalu Yala Valley are 100 percent potable. We filled our water bottles with the river water on our hike. After watching World Water Wars, I was able to appreciate the abundance of fresh water running through the valley. Fresh water will be a huge advantage when the building process of Kalu Yala starts.
Facts from Blue Gold: World Water Wars that will increase your appreciation:
- 97 percent of the earth’s water is salt water while 3 percent is fresh water. 2/3 of the fresh water is frozen in glaciers.
- 4.7 percent of the population does not have access to clean water in their homes.
- African women walk on average 3.7 miles to get fresh water.
- An estimated 35,000 people die daily from unhygienic and dirty water.