The Futaleufu River and one of its main tributaries, the Espolon River, are under increasing environmental threat from development. The Futaleufu Riverkeeper is working to establish the region's first water quality monitoring program to serve as the first line of defense against polluters. We will pair with Global Water Watch to develop a community-based monitoring system, in which local volunteers are given EPA-certified training to collect and analyze samples.
Gravel extraction from the banks of the Espolon is disrupting the ecosystem and causing erosion; the local wastewater treatment plant is struggling to keep up with increasing waste production and is dumping contaminated water into the Espolon; and rapid population growth promises to exacerbate current issues and further threaten water quality with roads and urbanization. Installing an effective water monitoring system is the first step in identifying and combating these threats.
There is no water quality monitoring system in place on the Futaleufu River downstream of the Argentinian border, allowing contamination to affect the river unchecked. Futaleufu Riverkeeper's community-based water quality monitoring system will be the first to track and document the environmental effects of development, allowing for timely and fact-based advocacy against contamination. Establishing a baseline of water quality is the first line of defense against harmful development on the Futa.
As development in the Futaleufu watershed continues to grow in the coming years-- the population is projected to next to double in the next decade-- a sustained water quality monitoring system will be essential for tracking the health of the river and advocating for clean water. Long-term scientific data is one of the most important tools for environmental litigation.
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