Alternative World Water Forum

Mr. Evo Morales Ayma
Plurinational State of Bolivia


A few weeks ago, your government announced with surprising enthusiasm the existence of so-called unconventional gas reserves that should be exploited using the controversial and destructive fracking technique. The findings were reported by the company Beicip Franlab, which has been conducting studies in the basins of the Bolivian territory in search of unconventional hydrocarbons. Your government has stated that the amount of reserves that exist are a “great opportunity for the Bolivian state” to boost export volumes if the fracking industry were to be developed. You have also already signed contracts with the Canadian company CanCambria which, calculating more than 100 trillion feet cubic of unconventional gas is available, would take charge of developing studies to start this dangerous industry in Tarija, Chuquisaca and Santa Cruz.

These announcements are of great concern to us all. Fracking is a highly destructive technique with a tremendously harmful and negative impact on climate change, the public health of the targeted communities and water quality. There is no technology that can prevent or repair the great damage that fracking can cause (and has caused). The fracking industry consumes territory and water on a large scale. It also poses a great pollution threat for aquifers because of the chemicals used in the process to break the rocks and the toxic wastewater that is being extracted to the surface and which must be disposed somewhere. More than a decade of use of this technology in the U.S. and Canada has shown how harmful this fossil fuel extraction process can be. As countless studies have confirmed, the construction of a network of thousands of wells has a devastating effect on the affected regions. That is why the people who are suffering its consequences in the countries where fracking is imposed upon the people and the land strongly resist and denounce it.

Fracking also produces significant emissions from methane leaks and this is not a minor problem. Experts say that during the life of a well, almost 4% of its production is emitted into the atmosphere, including losses and leaks in the well itself, during storage and supply to consumers. Leakages from unconventional gas wells can sum up to 12% of production. As you know, methane is a greenhouse gas at least 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, so opting to promote fracking also means deliberately revoking the urgent needed fight against climate change.

We are very concerned that these plans and their harmful effects are not communicated in a transparent way to the population and we observe the systematic lack of compliance with the Prior Informed Consultation of ILO Convention 169 for the extractive and infrastructure projects that are being developed in the country.

Our brothers and sisters in Argentina, the U.S., Canada and other countries where fracking has been imposed upon them have suffered through the damage done to their health and the displacement of communities and territories because of the devastating environmental and social impacts of the expanding fracking infrastructure. We do not want that technique imposed upon on our lands. We remind you, on the other hand, that several countries in the world have banned fracking to preserve public health as well as the quality of their aquifers and the rights of their populations.

Bolivia has been an inspiration for the social movements of the world; not only challenging the big water transnationals in the 2000s, but also promoting the UN Declaration on the Human Right to Water in 2010 and the Rights of Mother Earth in the same forum in 2011. In the past, authorities of your government have also affirmed that Bolivia would not start developing fracking projects. We believe there has to be a minimum coherence when speaking under the banner of the Human Right to Water and the Rights of Mother Earth.

To follow the fracking path – as announced by your energy authorities – contravenes the principles of water care as a source of life, water as a human right, and the respect for the most basic human rights of the communities living in those territories. We call upon the Bolivian government to stop these fracking initiatives that signal a path of unsustainable destruction and addiction to fossil fuels and increase a vicious cycle of income generation from an unsustainable activity that puts our future as a society and the future of our biophysical bases at risk. A government that claims to be a true peoples’ government should not commit crimes against nature, against indigenous peoples and territories, against its own citizens, and against their human right to water.

To add your signature to the open letter do it from the following link where you find the first signatures:

Interesting links in Spanish

YPFB se abre al fracking y anuncia millonaria inversión

Bolivia amplía estudios exploratorios

Jubileo observa apuesta del Gobierno por fracking

Fracking en Bolivia: La técnica que usara YPFB y genera dudas

Evo Morales bendice el fracking en Bolivia

Categories: Global stories

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