Río Tacó Basin Study, Guatemala
Water for the Americas provided assistance to the University of San Carlos’s Eastern University Center (CUNORI) in Chiquimula, Guatemala on a study of the Río Tacó basin in southeastern Guatemala. The Río Tacó provides part of the water supply for the city of Chiquimula. There are about a dozen rural communities in the basin, and the water supply and basin conditions are being degraded by deforestation for firewood and subsistence farming, lack of sanitary facilities in the rural communities, and other common practices such as in-stream bathing and clothes washing. Deforestation has changed the hydrologic conditions enough to dry up one of the two forks of the river in the upper part of the basin.
We are currently working to develop a viable long-term strategy for basin management and improvement. We are prioritizing potential projects to implement as funding becomes available. Potential projects include water systems to serve the rural villages in the basin, improving agricultural practices to lessen the need to cut the native pine forest for new farmland, reforestation of the upstream reaches of the now-dry fork of the Río Tacó, providing incentives for rural residents to invest in more fuel-efficient cookstoves, and providing educational and training programs to foster income-generating activities for the rural villagers.