Damming the Marañon

Proposals for 20 dams along the Marañon River could bring devastation to the Awajún.


Cool Earth’s Awajún partners live alongside the banks of the River Marañon in northern Peru. The 1,700km river is one of the main sources of the Amazon and provides food and income for the communities that call this area home.

Peru’s proposals to construct 20 dams along the length of the river could have severe consequences for the people and the environment of the region and have already met with huge controversy. In 2011 the government passed a law declaring that the construction of the dams is “in the national interest” but many people are concerned that the energy produced will supply mining companies and be exported abroad.

At least 100,000 river people live in and around this part of the Amazonian rainforest rely on its aquatic and terrestrial resources for food and income.


Information on the proposed dams is hard to come by. Very few impact assessments have been carried out and many local people have reported suffering intimidation, repression and the criminalisation of their right to protest during the few meetings held to discuss the plans with communities.

The biggest proposed dam, “Manseriche”, could flood more than 5,470km2 at its lowest output. This is worrying for our Awajún partners who live just 65km west of the proposed site. Another dam, “Escuprebraga” is proposed for a bend in the river at Chipe, just 20km from our partner communities. The proposed dams could effectively seal off the Awajún and destroy their livelihoods at best. At worst, the dams could flood them out of their homes and force them to relocate.

By training community associations and providing funds for travel to meetings, Cool Earth is supporting its Awajún partners to ensure they are best placed for their voices to be heard.



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