A few weeks ago the Gaia Pacha Foundation, supported by the WYN, applied for a call for projects managed by the Autonomous Departmental Government of Cochabamba with the funding of the Organization of Cooperation HELVETAS. The objective of the call was to address the issue of contamination of the Rio Rocha, Bolivia and to be able to get support and funding for the project here presented. We are happy to announce the project was selected and it was granted the support and we are now sharing with you the specifics about Gaia Pacha Foundation’s labor:
Development and population growth are closely tied to water. As human beings became sedentary, they sought to establish themselves near bodies of water in order to have access to this resource for their consumption, their livestock and irrigation of their crops. These watersheds also were used to dispose of the waste produced by these populations. As they developed economically, demographically, and industrially, the quantity of waste multiplied, and brought with it increasing contamination.
The Rocha River Basin is one of the most important watersheds of the Department of Cochabamba. It holds approximately 76% of the department’s population. The integral point within the basin is the Rocha River, whose main channel has a length of approximately 81 km.
This basin directly involves the 7 municipalities of the Metropolitan axis: Sacaba, Cercado, Colcapirhua, Quillacollo, Vinto, Tiquipaya and Sipe Sipe. Over the years urban growth in the basin, occupation of the territory, industrial activity, and demand for water have increased, at the same time causing environmental degradation.
The use of aquatic macroinvertebrates as indicators of the quality of waters in ecosystems, such as rivers, is becoming widespread throughout the world. A summary of this tradition and the methods currently used, as well as an assessment of its advantages and disadvantages can be found in Bonada et al. (2006) which includes a historical view of the subject, and an extensive bibliography.
The experience of the Foundation in the area of participatory research allows us to present a diversity of proposals to be developed according to the characteristics of different spaces at the urban level. In this manner, we present a proposal for participatory monitoring of the quality of the Rocha River based on bioindicators. This proposal can also serve as a methodology to raise awareness surrounding the problems of this important body of water in our department.
The Rocha River
Implement methodology of biological indicators, based on the analysis of changes in the community of organisms that inhabit the fluvial ecosystems, in front of a determined disturbance, to evaluate the quality of water in the river with participating local citizens.
In order to achieve the general objective, we propose the following specific objectives:
Have trained personnel carry out the water quality monitoring through bioindicators in the Rocha River
Implement a participative methodology of biological monitoring of the Rocha River
Generate a free virtual platform to visualize the ecological state of the Rocha River
Be to determine, based on the collected data, possible anthropic actions that harm the ecological quality of the Rocha River
Gaia Pacha Foundation already has contact with many local supporters, such as the Simón I Patiño University, Universidad Católica Boliviana. These Universities will help us to collect and publicize data.
Likewise, Gaia Pacha Foundation is backed by and has the support of the Water Youth Network (www.wateryouthnetwork.org), which is an inclusive global network in the water sector, with a vibrant community of students and young professionals in different disciplines. The Water Youth Network will help us to spread the results of this project in Cochabamba.
This project will start in January of 2018, thanks to the financial contribution of HELVETAS through the actions of the project “DAR LA CARA AL RIO ROCHA: DGA / GAD LOCAL INITIATIVES” (Give a Face to the Rocha River) of the Departmental Autonomous Government of Cochabamba.
Meeting with all interinstitutional allies
In 2008, the Organization obtained the Prefectural Resolution of the Departmental Government of Cochabamba, becoming an official organization under the name Foundation Gaia Pacha, registered No 083/08. Established as a non-profit organization dedicated to the care and conservation of the Environment, through means of initiatives and research projects, extension and development of distinct fields and areas of action.
In practice, Foundation Gaia Pacha has established various bridges and partnerships with other institutions and people who are involved with environmental causes. Our work is based on cooperation between other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), universities, research centers, companies, and state government agencies.
The purpose of Foundation Gaia Pacha is to create and implement technical and scientific proposals that promote the creation and reconstruction of human awareness in relation to the environment, as well as changes in human behavior, while keeping in mind the context of the reality and circumstances of our country.
Gaia Pacha is a Non-Profit Organization that reflects the conviction and life philosophy of qualified women and men who are committed to the care of the fragile interaction between human beings and nature. Gaia Pacha is dedicated to the environment with a strong base in ethics, transparency, justice, and solidarity.