Nicaragua: Why environmental protection and water conservation?
Nicaragua disposes of immense freshwater resources. The city of Granada is set at the banks of the largest freshwater lake in Central America: Lake Nicaragua, also called “El Lago Cocibolca” or “Gran Lago.” Despite these enormous freshwater resources, only 51% of the public schools in the country are supplied with drinking water, and only 23% of these schools have sanitary facilities. Among other causes, the insufficient supply of drinking water is related to the substantial and progressive pollution of the lake. Due to scarce effluent disposal systems, a large part of the wastewater is dumped directly into the lake with disastrous effects on people, flora and fauna.
In Nicaragua, diseases caused by polluted water are still the main cause of high infant mortality. Every year, about 300 children in Nicaragua die of diarrhea caused by polluted water. These statistics could become worse in the coming years, with the possible canal construction through Nicaragua, which has completely unpredictable consequences for the drinking water supply and the environment.
The consequences of climate change on the water supply are serious as well. According to the latest report “Global Climate Risk Index 2013” by German Watch, Nicaragua was ranked third among countries most endangered by climate change. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, have become more frequent, while the average temperatures are rising. The probability of hurricanes on the Caribbean coast is increasing, while the eastern parts of the country are increasingly threatened by drought and water scarcity. It is predicted that the rainfall in the regions of the Pacific coast will fall by about 37%. The consequences are water scarcity and droughts. An adaptation to climate warming by means of alternative energies is urgently required. According to the “Climatescope 2013” by the Multilateral Investment Fund, Nicaragua is ranked third among Latin American countries with the greatest potential for investments in the field of renewable energies.
Until the end of 2011, Nicaragua had been a priority country of the German development assistance with the main aim of poverty reduction. In response to increasing democracy deficits, the Federal Government decided to concentrate the governmental development assistance on the focus of water (drinking water supply and effluent disposal).