Hallo! This is a long overdue first post on an amazing project that I participated in towards the end of the summer: a water monitoring project focused on a region in northern Colombia that has been significantly impacted by mining industry pollution. In particular, the focus is on the Suratá River in Bucaramanga, and the project is called "Suratá Visible".
The project was initiated by a friend who is a professor of Economics at the University of Los Andes in Bogotá, Juan Camilo Cardenas and who has been contributing ideas to the Open Water and Riffle water monitor projects in discussions for a long time. One the main project goals was to convene a wide range of stakeholders with strong interests in the Suratá river: members of communities who live along the river; advocacy groups that are trying to draw attention to mining pollution in the region; representatives of the mining companies, who, as a result of recent advocacy efforts, are now feeling pressure to modify their mining practices; members of the state environmental police; and researchers from a local university in Bucaramanga. The plan was to offer a series of 'mobile workshops' that would travel along the river, serve as events at which these stakeholders could engage one another in dialogue, and, working with local community members, deploy a series of water monitors in locations that are no longer being visited and tested by government water experts. Ultimately, the hope is that these communities would become stewards of these distributed monitors, and the project would no longer be based out of Los Andes.
At this point I'm going to quickly dump a bunch of photos of us working on the sensors and demoing them at the workshops along the river. I'll write captions soon, and link to more explanatory materials (many of them in Spanish), asap.