The Rupununi is one of our most diverse landscape with vast open savannahs that acts as seasonal wetlands and flood plains. These wetlands hold one of the largest concentrations of freshwater fish, other aquatic animals, and plants, some which are endemic to the area.
This seasonal flow of water into the Rupununi is also critical for the thousands of Guyanese who live there. The water brings with it multiple benefits: recharging farmlands and wells after the long dry spells, creating more waterways to allow fishes to reproduce thus increasing the availability of essential fishes for food, which can then improve the livelihoods and income of people.
Freshwater systems are also under growing pressures especially in the Rupununi savannahs. Due to the openness of the land Savannahs are seen as prime locations for new largescale agricultural farms that have an extreme demand on the freshwater supply in the area and have the potential to disrupt the flow and natural functions of rivers and wetlands.
Planned large agricultural plantations and processing industries, such as growing of rice crops in the Intermediate and Rupununi Savannahs and especially on arable lands on the upper reaches of the riverbank, will increase soil erosion and sedimentation in rivers.
Dangerous herbicides and pesticides used by farmers end up in the runoff and flow into the river system spreading through entire ecosystems, negatively impacting wildlife, as the water now becomes polluted with these toxins. The polluted water is also a threat to health of the 20,000 people living and depending on the river for water. As a result, local communities will have the burden of carry the cost for treatment of their water supply for consumption.
Planned and existing roadways and bridges give access to remote communities and resources. However, inadequately planned, and managed development projects, that have not taken all factors relating to the environment into account, have a negative impact on the environment. Infrastructure developments affect the flow and functioning of rivers and their related flood plains and wetlands. These structures can block the migration routes for fish and other animal species, cause more flooding and increase water pollution.