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OAS kicks off Guarani aquifer project

Bnamericas Published: Friday, May 23, 2003
The Organization of American States (OAS) officially launched the Guarani aquifer environmental protection and sustainable development project this week. The four-year project will study how to better manage the water resources in the 1.2 million sq. km aquifer shared by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The OAS's sustainable development and environment unit will act as regional executing agency, and the World Bank (WB) will be the implementing agency. Last year, the WB approved a US$13.4mn Global Environment Facility grant for the US$27.2mn project, which will help the four countries draft and implement a common institutional and technical framework for the management and preservation of the aquifer system. Financing will also come from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the German Geological Service and from a WB/Netherlands government initiative, while Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay will contribute 50% in counterpart funds. Urban population and industrial growth has put a strain on available surface water and driven up demand for new water resources, according to the OAS, adding that urban and industrial waste, as well as pesticides, are damaging the aquifer.

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