“Only when the last tree has died, the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught, will we realize we cannot eat money.”—Cree Indian Proverb
Several decades ago, generations of inhabitants from the Provinces of Los Santos, Herrera and Coclé chopped down their forests in order to give way to green pastures for their cattle. The name of the game was “potreros” for the cattle ranches.
Little did they know, that it was the beginning of a change of weather patterns that would end in severe absence of water. If you add the natural phenomenon of “El Niño”, the climatic situation becomes worse.
Even as we speak, the Dry Belt is experiencing one of the the most severe droughts in the history of the region. Rivers are evaporating like Harry Potter’s magic. Wells are also drying up and rain is not expected until May or late June.
The government is desperaely trying to supply water to the thirsty communities through large water trucks. It helps but is not a long term solution. In my opinion, the solution is to reforest the region as soon as possible. It will take decades to bring the area back to the way it was with abundant water, but it has to be done.
Meanwhile the prayers for water remains in our churches while the sun gobbles up the ramaining water still flowing in gaunt streams and rivers. Will we learn the lesson? I don’t have the answer. Time will tell.