Post sponsored by the Emplois Trois Rivières Site
Caring for a water mirror of 6,240 hectares, such as the Guatapé reservoir, is a complex mission. In all its extension, the body of water covers six Antioquia localities, although tourism is concentrated more than anything in the municipality of Guatapé.
The place is not news daily for accidents; However, the management of the safety of the dam was questioned in June 2017, after the sinking of the vessel El Almirante with 120 people on board, which left nine people dead.
Just last month, during the Friday of Holy Week, two tourists drowned after falling from an inflatable mattress in the Hunting Diana sector, an area of the reservoir five kilometers from the town’s dock.
The EPM signs installed along the coast indicate that it is forbidden to enter the water, but it has not been enough for some tourists who ignore the recommendations.
Therefore, the work of the authorities will be reinforced by approving a project presented in the Province of Water, Forestry and Tourism – made up of 12 municipalities in eastern Antioquia – which seeks, among other actions, to put into operation a ship that is Immediate attention (see graphic).
Control of the reservoir
In high season, as last Holy Week when Guatapé received 45,000 visitors, control is reinforced with the participation of the Superintendence of Ports and Transport and the Police, according to the local mayor’s office, but most of the year only two patrollers guard the dam .
“They are trained with maritime and fluvial safety course, and have a boat for emergencies, with elements to carry out a rescue. In addition, they are pending in the docks to avoid overcrowding in the 12 companies that provide tourist services, “explained the mayor Luis Muñoz , in charge of the fluvial issue at the institution.
So far this year, 17 subpoenas have been given for security infractions in the reservoir. The mayor revealed that undisciplined tourists apply the Police Code for behavior contrary to coexistence, being the most common cases: drinking liquor on boats and not wearing a vest on board.
Daniela Guarín Cardona , secretary of local tourism, confessed that the ideal would be to have a greater number of patrollers to care for the reservoir and thus be able to cover more areas of the body of water, mainly from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, lapse in which the greatest tourist activity is concentrated.
In addition, he indicated that the nautical safety awareness campaigns, giving advice on how to properly enjoy the place, are permanent in the municipality. “For this work, some people give us complaints of bad behavior and we direct them to the River Inspection,” he said.
During the visit of EL COLOMBIANO to the dam, we showed that some tourists entered the water with kayaks without the supervision of any authority, although they did wear vests. When trying to investigate the Fluvial Inspection on the surveillance exercised, this entity attached to the Ministry of Transport did not want to pronounce.
However, the mayor Muñoz said that cases like the two tourists drowned in Hunting Diana are sporadic, and that the work that the police has done to ensure safety has been effective.
Yefferson Morales , boatman at the dam, revealed that since the El Almirante accident occurred, the surveillance is stricter. Control of the number of passengers transported, use of lifejackets, good condition of the boats that, at 6:00 p.m., should already be anchored in the dock because nighttime activity is restricted.
“Sometimes control is not enough for remote sectors, such as Hunting Diana. It is also that there are tourists who believe that the dam is a pool, then we, the boatmen, help with the surveillance, “he said.
To remedy the situation proposed the design of the new ship, which will also be reinforced with an ambulance boat that was also presented as a proposal of the province, said Secretary Guarín.
According to the official, this project was presented last year in the Municipality, but the costs were too high to be assumed only by Guatapé, for which it was redesigned and left with an estimated value of 1,600 million pesos.
The province will present the proposal to the Government, so that it is evaluated and thus obtain the resources for the construction of the boat that would strengthen the security throughout the reservoir.
Guarín revealed that this idea of nautical CAI, added to the ambulance boat and other elements that are part of the incipient Risk Management and Safeguarding of Human Life System in the Peñol – Guatapé Reservoir, could be executed with around 3,400 million pesos.
Source: El Colombiano