River transportation in Peru’s jungle region is about to be transformed in one of Peru’s most significant projects of the 21st century.
The Amazon Waterway project is poised to service more than 1 million Peruvians as well as drive trade and development in the interior northeast rainforest region of the Andean country.
Last week, Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communications informed that the waterway will be designed to improve transportation in response to dynamic, seasonal river flows that block commercial and passenger boat traffic. The aim is to make these waterways fully navigable 365 days a year, according to El Comercio.
As of now, it is unclear to what level this will impact the natural environment and ecosystems of the river.
Andina reports that the project was conceded to a business association called Hidrovia II, made up of a Chinese state-owned hydropower company Sinohydro in cooperation with a Peruvian construction firm. It will necessitate an investment of about US$ 95 million and will be jointly financed by both the private and public sectors.
The interior jungle regions are a strategic zone of development for Peru’s present and future. The Amazonian waterways are Peru’s direct connection with other major powers in the region such as Colombia and Brazil as well as an important interior connection between the coast, the high Andes, and the low jungle. They are a touristic resource as well as an ecological and trade resource.
Furthermore, glacier loss due to climate change leaves dwindling surface water resources in the Central Andes as well as the more densely populated desert coast. Is it possible that a lack of water (or lack of infrastructure to access water) in these regions will push Peruvians to migrate toward the rainforest? Time will tell.
At the very least, the Amazon Waterway project offers the potential to lay the groundwork for sustainable long-term planning in the region’s development. What do you think about this ambitious project? Let us know here at Living in Peru.