Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Thursday the signing of an agreement between Colombian and Dutch authorities to dredge the river basins of two of Colombia’s primary rivers, the Magdalena and the Cauca.
According to Santos, “Today is the signing of an agreement between various autonomous corporations, municipalities, the Ministry of the Environment and the Dutch Embassy to undertake a study [of] the Rivers Magdalena and Cauca, as they form a single basin.”
Santos pledged that the proposed study, “conducted by the Dutch, who are the most knowledgeable in the world on issues of water,” will give a “final solution” to the issues of climate change and rising water levels in Colombia’s rivers.
“This study will tell us, for example, which areas cannot be used for agriculture, which cannot be inhabited, which areas should be left for river overflow,” according to Santos.
President Santos made the announcement in the town of Obanda, northwest of Bogota, while visiting victims of this year’s rainy season floods. The town and surrounding area have seen flooding of about 50,000 acres of farmland, due to the Cauca River overflowing.
The second rainy season of the year, which started in September and is now beginning to subside, has resulted in more than 170 deaths in Colombia, mostly caused by flooding and landslides.