Environmental Health Coalition, Colectivo Ollín Calli, and members of the Colectivo Chilpancingo Pro Justicia Ambiental, Jóvenes Pro Justicia Ambiental, residents of the Colonia Chilpancingo and neighborhoods adjacent to the Arroyo Alamar and their supporters announced the submission of a petition to procure an injunction against the Arroyo Alamar channelization project that the National Water Commission is developing.

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For more information visit www.alamarsustentable.org or email EHC's Border Environmental Justice Campaign Organizer.

The Arroyo Alamar originates in the United States near Campo in eastern San Diego County, flows into the Tecate River near the town of Tecate in Baja California, and changes its name to the Arroyo Alamar once it enters Tijuana. It then flows through the community of Chilpancingo, into the Tijuana River, and eventually into the Pacific Ocean near Imperial Beach, California. A few decades ago, it was a clean space where people from the nearby communities could fish and drink its water. The presence of the maquiladora industry seriously contaminated the river near Colonias Chilpancingo, Murúa and Nueva Esperanza. Residents there would have liked to see it returned to a riparian habitat, but channelization of the river has already begun.

However, the portion of the river closest to the Tecate River contains a wide variety of plants and animals native to the region. It is an invaluable ecosystem that could mitigate the contamination resulting from the Maquiladora industries. The youth group of EHC's Tijuana affiliate, the Colectivo Chilpancingo Pro Justicia Ambiental (the Chilpancingo Collective for Environmental Justice), is working to save this watershed.

Although channelization of rivers is supposed to control flood waters, it can often lead to flooding because the natural flood plain has been eliminated. Other impacts of channelization include:

  • Destruction of wildlife habitat and diversity of species
  • Less recharge of groundwater
  • A reduction in drinking water from surface and groundwater sources
  • More erosion
  • Increased frequency of localized flooding
  • A greater concentration and quantity of contaminants in the water

Tijuana needs the Arroyo Alamar because:

  • It represents 30% of the water entering the Tijuana River watershed
  • It is an ecosystem that sustains wildlife and native vegetation
  • Its aquifer is one of the three most important in Tijuana
  • It is a valuable open space and recreational resource for Tijuana families
  • A natural waterway helps prevent flooding in residential neighborhoods
  • All people have the right to access green zones and an obligation to preserve them