Among violins and tambourines and the aroma of fresh coffee aroma created a festive environment in which families of 5 communities signed Reciprocal Water Agreements to conserve forest and watersheds in Buena Vista. During the Buenavista Coffee Festival, the municipal authorities, representatives of the water cooperative, Natura and the local population gathered in the main plaza of the town to witness 31 families in their commitment to conserve 614 ha of forests critical for water provision.
Five communities—San Pedro de Palillos, Recompensa, Bella Unión, Carmen Surutú and San Juan del Saguayo—will conserve their forests for a period of 10 years. These forests are located in the Integrated Management Area of the Amboro National Park. This park is also the main source of water provision to the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
The Mayor of Buena Vista, Bladimir Chávez explained “We signed an agreement with Natura Foundation and the Water Cooperative of Buena Vista, with the idea of preserving our Natura, because we want to conserve our flora and fauna and we want to keep our forests standing. More than 75% of the municipal territory is protected, most of which is within the Amboro National Park. This allows us to have clean water for our population consumption; we are determined to conserve the forests in and around the park that recharge our aquifers”.
The Autonomous Municipal Government of Buena Vista and the Water Cooperative COOPAGUAB have implemented reciprocal Water Agreements in Buena Vista since 2012. There are now 3,097 ha of forests conserved through RWA in 9 communities in Buenavista, benefiting 169 families with productive incentives to help them become guardians of their own forests.
Pablo Farfan Ovando, landowner of forests on the banks of Sabayo River, was present at the event to sign his first RWA agreement, in which he pledged to conserve 83 ha of forests. In exchange, he received barbed wire to help him to keep his cattle away from the banks of the river and watersheds. This action will prevent water contamination with cattle feces. Pablo highlighted “I thought it was important to conserve the forests I have on my lands, because I know that by keeping the forest healthy we can conserve pure water, not only to ourselves but also for future generations”.