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In June 2009, six complaints were filed by various stakeholder groups regarding the impact of Agrokasa’s operations on the Ica aquifer. Two of the complaints were signed by ground-water users’ associations - one by the Junta de Usuarios de Rio Seco, and one by the Junta de Usuarios de Aguas Subterraneas del Valle de Ica (JUASVI). One complaint was signed jointly by the NGOs Progressio and Water Witness International, but was later formally withdrawn by Progressio’s executive director. Three of the complaints requested confidentiality.
The complaints raised concerns about depletion of the aquifer due to excessive drilling throughout the valley, and question the legality of some of Agrokasa’s operations. Several of the complaints also question the licensing and permitting process for an Agrokasa water transfer project, and state that complete information about the project was not disclosed to other growers and municipalities in the region.
In July 2009, a CAO Ombudsman team traveled to Peru to meet with key stakeholders in Lima and Ica to conduct an assessment of the situation and assess options for resolution of the issues with the parties.
In an assessment report distributed to the parties in December 2009, the Ombudsman team identified areas of common ground shared by all the parties, and recommended they undertake a process of assisted negotiation to address the area’s critical water situation collaboratively. The Ombudsman team also identified several issues the parties were not willing to negotiate, and recommended those be transferred to CAO Compliance for appraisal.
After a period of assisted negotiation, the two ground-water users’ associations whose complaints are public launched in March 2010 a Working Group involving the other two water users’ associations (who depend primarily on surface water) and the two local water authorities from the Ica and Rio Seco sections of the valley. As a member of JUASVI, Agrokasa is participating in and supporting the Working Group’s efforts to jointly address the shared concerns regarding the water situation – including the concerns raised in the complaints.
Case Status: Open
During the CAO assessment trip in July 2009, the company announced that it planned to withdraw its request for financing of IFC project # 26821, which would have been its third IFC loan. In September 2009, Agrokasa formally notified IFC that it had cancelled the loan request.
The CAO Ombudsman team has continued to work with the parties and is currently serving as facilitator for the Working Group, whose aim is to jointly develop short- medium- and long-term strategies for managing the water resources in the Ica basin. Issues that the parties were not willing to negotiate were transferred to CAO Compliance in March 2010 for appraisal. The appraisal deadline is May 10, 2010.
CAO Case Story page: http://www.cao-ombudsman.org/cases/case_detail.aspx?id=139