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Elderly Mexican villagers cling to town, fight plans to flood land

August 22, 2017

Temacapulín residents have resisted the government’s plans for 12 years

Abigail Agredano fears her 96-year-old mother would not survive being uprooted from their hometown in the highlands of western Mexico, where its 400 mostly elderly residents are battling a  government plan to dam the nearby Río Verde.

“If they manage to force us out, I think she and many others would die immediately,” Agredano, head of the Committee to Save Temacapulín, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Damming the Río Verde would supply water for major urban areas in the state of Jalisco and neighboring Guanajuato but leave Temacapulín and the smaller villages of Palmajero and Acasico underwater.

Abigail Agredano is leading the campaign to save Temacapulín from being flooded.

While the dam was proposed a dozen years ago, the campaign has grown more urgent this summer since Jalisco Governor Aristóteles Sandoval abandoned a pledge he made in 2013 to save Temacapulín.

Construction of the dam was halted at 80 meters (262 ft)after a Supreme Court ruling in 2013 and, as the partially finished dam has not been sealed, the river still runs through it.

But Sandoval, a member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), said in late June the government now intends to raise the Zapotillo dam to 105 meters, a height that would seal the fate of the three tiny towns.

If the government plans go ahead this entire town will end up underwater.

“Saving Temacapulín is no longer an affordable option,” Sandoval said, due to growing water demands of the state capital Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest city…

Click here to read this feature in full at the Thomson Reuters Foundation

Here’s a short video I made about the situation in Temacapulín. Feedback is welcome.

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