Impacts of gravel extraction on the San Rodrigo river in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico


Gravel extraction for construction from the San Rodrigo river, in the Piedras Negras municipality of Coahuila, showcases the utter inability or unwillingness to stop nature´s destruction on the part of federal water and environmental authorities.

Indeed, this has been happening since before the eighties, but it really intensified on that decade. Extraction was (and has been) kept running at great capacity using heavy machinery and transportation since, and has been the root cause of the systematic destruction of the rivers' morphology and riverbank forests (composed mainly of walnut, poplar, oak, sabino, ash and black mulberry trees) along the 12 kilometers before it flows into the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande river, where the aquifer has been exposed after excavating 8 or more meters deep into the river bed and its flooding plains. This has caused loss of water from evaporation and contamination; water that should fill the wells of the community closest to the river, El Moral.

Gravel extraction is a "legal" activity according to article 113 bis in the National Waters Law, but it is nevertheless immoral, outrageous and unsustainable. It should be eradicated from the San Rodrigo river with all prejudice, considering the levels of destruction it has already caused, and moved to the highlands, away from the river's Flow.