Paramaribo November 6, 2015
This article was published in De Ware Tijd (a local Suriname newspaper) on Friday 6 November 2015. It reports on the conference, which Conservation International Suriname in cooperation with the Dutch Embassy in Paramaribo organized, titled ‘is Suriname ready for bulk water exports?’ At the conference, which had been set up as a presentation on the feasibility study of water export and a panel discussion, stakeholders from business, science, NGOs and Government were present. Amazone Resources was represented by Cor de Ruiter.
Source: DWT (Suriname newspaper De Ware Tijd)
‘It’s similar to a blood transfusion, it will not kill you’
PARAMARIBO – Should Suriname River water be sold to countries with water shortage while in Suriname itself many people do not have access to clean drinking water? And what are the effects of water withdrawal for the ecosystems of Suriname?
These were but some of the questions discussed during a symposium Thursday morning in the Marriott hotel on the export of fresh water. The reason for nature organization Conservation International to organize this meeting is a recent feasibility study, which shows that it is possible to sell Suriname River water to the Caribbean. Suriname has an abundance of fresh water compared to many Caribbean Islands.
Of the many attendees, among whom the necessary water specialists, no one was hundred percent against the plan. But that exports will commence as early as next month is definitely not on the agenda. Professor of hydrology at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname, Sieuwnath Naipal, pleaded for detailed examination before a drop of water will leave Suriname. “I absolutely don’t want to scare you, but if you change anything like an ecosystem you always get problems. And with climate changes we are experiencing, the situation in for example 2080 can be quite different. So if we now decide to sell of a certain amount of water every year, we might be in trouble in the future”, hence Professor Naipal, who was one of the panel members in the discussion. Deryck Ferrier of the Center for Economic & Social Scientific research (CESWO) disagreed with Naipal. ”We should not exaggerate. The amounts of water we are talking about are only a fraction of what flows through that river. It is similar to a blood transfusion, the amounts will not kill you”, believes Ferrier who 35 years ago started researching the opportunity to export water. Ferrier mainly contemplated whether Suriname will be able to compete with other countries that also have a lot of water such as Venezuela and Colombia.
Another question that tempered the meeting is what role the Government should play in water exports. According to Manodj Hindori, Chairman of the Water Forum Suriname, the Government should ensure a transparent debate so that it is clear to everyone what the advantages and disadvantages of water export are. If it is decided to start the export of water, then indeed the Government will have a role to play, because water is a scarce resource. However, the business community should take the lead, otherwise it will never get off the ground, as was the view of several people in the room. Djaienti Hindori, Director of the Landbouwbank held a plea to use part of the revenues for updating the drinking water supply in Suriname itself. Incidentally, a Dutch-Swiss company received a concession in 2012 to investigate water export. As soon as the company has done research into the social and environmental impacts they are allowed to start exporting. Note: Amazone Resources is the company that was granted a concession in 2012.