Mexico Wins Approval of Farm Communities for Disputed Dam Project
MEXICO CITY Two more farm communities voted in favor of a hydroelectric dam that promises to supply drinking water and electricity to Acapulco but has sparked violent protests by opponents.
Tuesday's votes in the communities of Los Huajes and La Palma in southern Guerrero state brought to 17 the number of communities in favor of the dam. Jesus Nava of the Guerrero state press office said the project has enough votes for approval.
The Federal Electricity Commission, which is responsible for the project, was not immediately available to confirm the approval.
The dam is designed to supply electrical power and drinking water for the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco and surrounding areas.
Residents have been offered jobs, services and other compensation, but critics claim the project would displace communities and note it is located in an area subject to severe earthquakes.
The project would require the expropriation of thousands of acres (hectares) of lands from the 17 farm communities.
The US$800 million (euro654 million), 900-megawatt dam on the Papagayo River, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Acapulco, is expected to take five years to complete.
Guerrero Gov. Zeferino Torreblanca said the project would "guarantee drinking water supplies for Acapulco for up to 50 years."
He called the dam "an integrated development project that will allow citizens who are currently forced to leave for the United States to develop activities like tourism."
Source: Associated Press