Playa del Carmen, Q.R. – A scientific forum was held recently to address the key issues associated with local cenotes and underground rivers along the Riviera Maya.
The presentation titled, The River That Unites Us, was held inside a dry portion of a cave at the Rio Secreto Nature Reserve. The theme of the evening was “Water Conservation and Climate Change” which detailed the importance of the regional water cycles along the peninsula, it’s peculiarities, characteristics and risks that continue to arise from the explosion of urban development during the last 20 years. In particular, the scientific study focused on the Yucatan Peninsula and the corridor known as the Riviera Maya.
The lecture, which was hosted by three professional researchers, explained the results of their scientific studies on the local water, its natural cycles and the anthropomorphic impaction, projections and assumptions for future studies as well as study perspectives. Two of the researchers, Patricia Beddows and Arnoldo Valle Levinson , arrived from the Unites States while the third, Rosa Maria Leal Bautista, was with the Unit of Water Sciences from the Scientific Research Center of Yucatán, AC (CICY).
“The opportunity to do research on the types of systems found in Quintana Roo is an important contribution. These types of systems are not found in Miami or in the Bahamas or any other limestone platform in the world, so it is an important contribution to the world for water systems,” said researcher Patricia Beddows from Northwestern University in Chicago, who has 20 years’ experience working along the Riviera Maya.
She explained that there are 1,300 kilometers of cave systems currently documented with studies and maps in the state of Quintana Roo. In particular, between Solidaridad and Tulum. She said that for the underground water systems to remain a sustainable development, we must ensure their existence by not covering them or filling them in with cement, rocks or earth because this will only backfire in the future.
Levinson, a professor at the University of Florida, presented “Here Comes the Sea”, a study involving the underground water systems, the coast and the impact of climate change. He made mention of the Sargasso issue plaguing the shores of the Riviera Maya: “To me a much more viable solution would be to try to catch the kelp at sea one or two kilometers inland. I understand it is not cheap, but in the long term, what is being done now will not work and that invested money will be lost.”
Rosa Maria Leal Bautista focused on the work that has gone into creating the first hydrogeological reserve in Mexico. The reserve is located in the Yucatan state.
Those in attendance also included cave guides and local citizens. Approximately 50 people attended the lecture.