The conflict over natural resources continues to plague the very unpopular Peruvian President Alan Garcia, this time in the town of Espinar. Protesters clashed with police over a proposed irrigation project that locals feel will leave them without water. The government insists that the dam will create irrigation capabilities for 95,000 acres of agricultural land.
Yesterday’s protest resulted in 18 injuries and one death. Last year, three dozen people died in protests over land rights in the Amazon jungle.
Water rights are a critical issue as the Andes glaciers melt due to climate change leaving less water reserves. In addition 98 percent of the country’s water is available east of the Andes and the majority of Peruvian live west by the Pacific Coast with desert-like conditions. Garcia has been moving the country away from a centralized water distribution system where much of the water distribution decisions were made locally to an integrated national water resource management program.