The Guaraní Aquifer is a vast underground reservoir of fresh water which lies beneath the surface of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. It is said that it could suppy fresh drinking water to the world for 200 years. Due to an expected shortage of fresh water on a global scale, which environmentalist suggest will become critical in under 20 years, this important natural resource is rapidly becoming politicized, and the control of the resource becomes ever more controversial.
Recently a film has been released which brings the controversy to the forefront. It is an Argentine film called ¨Sed, Invasión Gota a Gota¨ or in English, ¨Thirst, Invasion Drop by Drop.¨ Directed by Mausi Martinéz, the film protrays the US Military as slowly but steadily increasing it's presence in the area known as the Tres Fronteros ( The Triple Frontier ) where these countries share a border, and where there is little evidence of law and order. The overt reason for the increasing presence of US troops and joint exercizes with mainly Paraguay is to moniter the large Arab population which resides in the area. While there is no evidence of terrorist activities, there is the clear possibility it could occur. However, Martinéz alleges that it is the water which brings the Americans to the area, and she fears a subtle takeover before the local governments even realize what is going on.
While it may be hard to evaluate the motives of the Americans, it is not hard to state that this long forgotten area of the world will become more and more important as water becomes a scarce commodity.
The uncontrolled increase in volumes of water extracted from the aquifer and the contamination from agro-chemicals and urban and industrial waste are some of the factors that threaten the potable water supplies of millions of people, and even the hot springs tourism industry and the future of thermal-powered electrical plants.
The mere presence of pesticides and fertilizers in areas where the aquifer is recharged with rainwater constitutes a threat to the entire reservoir.
Another threat to the aquifer are the northern Uruguayan plantations of eucalyptus and pine trees, which due to their rapid growth capture a great deal of precipitation, preventing it from filtering into the underground reservoir, Antón told Tierramérica.
BUENOS AIRES - The placid waters of the Guaraní Aquifer, an enormous underground reservoir beneath 1.2 million square km of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, is at the center of a contentious debate.
A conservation project for the aquifer, which began to be implemented in 2003, triggered a volley of accusations between those entrusted with carrying the initiative forward and the civil society groups that warn of a supposed U.S.-led conspiracy to take control of this important source of freshwater.
If the governments wanted to privatize the aquifer, he said, "It would be under the authority of the countries, not the project." But the secretary-general clarified his position in the matter: "Water is a social good that has an economic value, but that does not mean a sales value.
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