Allende Dam in San Miguel de Allende is flooded with water hyacinth; neighbors are the ones cleaning it up


San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.- An endless battle is being waged by residents of the communities surrounding the Allende Dam against the water hyacinth that has invaded the reservoir for almost five years.

Shortly after dawn, the first neighbors start arriving at the edge of the dam, some carrying pitchforks to help them uproot the hyacinth from the root, others, who are the majority, do it barehanded and wading into the water as much as they can. They prefer to arrive early to avoid the intense rays of the sun.

Those who attend take advantage of the days when there is no work, as their goal is to recover the site that was once visited by tourists and locals. “We have to support when we can, because it’s tough to finish,” says a neighbor.

The reservoir looks completely green. It is almost entirely covered with invasive hyacinth. The wind drags it from one side to the other and points out where they need to start working. For months, residents of San Miguel have collaborated with this cleaning, they are overwhelmed even though there are weekends when many people come, neighbors from the municipal head, from distant communities and even from the neighboring municipality of Comonfort, all aware of the importance of the Allende Dam, one of the largest in the state.

The reservoir is at less than 20% of its capacity, which does not prevent the enemy from reproducing; the truce that the low temperatures gave them for a few days at the beginning of the year seems to be taking its toll now, as with the heat the plague has turned green again. And although the residents pray for the rain to come to soothe the heat and allow the dam to recover, they also fear that with the first waters the hyacinth will spread faster. Citizens begin to remove the hyacinth with their hands and with pitchforks.

They start piling up the wet leaves that come out with roots and all on the shores. A while later, finally, some water begins to be seen. “This dam when it is full looks very beautiful, huge! (…) we have to work a lot to recover it,” said a fisherman.

With the cleaning, the first fish that are “stunned” by the lack of oxygen begin to appear, as the neighbors explain.

On the shore, mountains of grass begin to form, which they set on fire to dry it out. “There are those who complain that if it burns there is pollution, but why don’t they complain about the factories? This is for a good cause. We want to see the dam clean,” they point out.

Those who have maintained this struggle believe that if they had constant support of machinery they would advance faster because, although society seems to have become aware that this task is in their hands, the indifference of the authorities weighs heavily.

Source: Periodico Correo