Municipal legislator urges better care of Lake Carraízo
By John McPhaul
Trujillo Alto municipal legislator Nellie Zambrana Ortiz pointed out Monday the importance of addressing the environmental situation at Lake Carraízo, beyond mandating dredging that facilitates the construction of a boating school.
Two months ago, the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) announced that it will put the Lake Carraízo dredging project up for bid. In turn, the government is promoting the creation of a canoeing school in the area of the lake.
“All the efforts of the government and the municipality are aimed at dredging to facilitate the construction of a boating school, without investigating or addressing the spread of lake lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) on the surface of the lake, the quality of the water, the chemicals that form carcinogenic substances, poor power generation at Sergio Cuevas [water treatment plant], or earthworks that fill the lake with dirt and reduce its capacity,” the Puerto Rican Independence Party legislator said in a written statement.
“Nor is the community oriented about the risks and threats to the lake, which is a tributary for thousands of citizens,” Zambrana Ortiz added. “The already approved dredging will only mitigate part of the problem. Water quality will continue to decline.”
The municipal legislator said she submitted a resolution in November 2021 ordering an investigation to be carried out on the risks, dangers and threats around Lake Carraízo and in the entire hydrographic basin of the reservoir.
According to the resolution, the investigation should focus on evaluating and collecting data on the possible impact of all the specific sources of contamination, including PRASA wastewater plants that operate in the basin.
Zambrana Ortiz stressed that her bill is consistent with the Carraízo Reservoir Water Quality and Ecosystem Management Plan, developed by PRASA together with the scientific community.
“That is why the contribution that PRASA can offer as the primary agency in the matter of water quality is important, and that the efforts that are being made at the state level can be verified,” she noted.
The Public Works, Transportation, Environmental Control, Health, Safety and Emergency Management Committee, to which Zambrana Ortiz’s resolution was referred, has not discussed it, she said, despite the fact that it is co-authored by representatives of all political parties. In addition, various experts, organizations, communities and university students have sent letters to the municipal legislature endorsing the measure.