Central America - ‘Dry Corridor’

Honduras communities fight drought with watershed work

Managing access to water in the so-called ‘Dry Corridor’ is key to economic and food security in the Central American country.

A road winds through the Honduran countryside as pine forests shift gradually into the dry lowlands of the country’s drought-prone region. The new road, known as the Dry Channel, connects the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the country for the first time.

Before the asphalt was poured, there was a dirt road, or even no thoroughfare at all. The government hopes the Dry Channel will now facilitate linking rural communities to one another and spur the construction of businesses like gas stations and hotels as traffic along the route grows.

This is exciting news for communities such as San Antonio del Norte in Honduras’ so-called Dry Corridor that are eager for new economic opportunities, but it also brings peril. Construction of this stretch of the road, finished just four months ago, further endangered one of the area’s most important resources: water.

The road project adversely impacted the watershed in Honduras’ Dry Corridor by forcing additional sediment into the water supply, which the community was already struggling to keep clean to ensure sufficient water for human consumption, said San Antonio del Norte Mayor Eulalio Maldonado Moreno.

Water impacts every aspect of his constituents’ daily lives, Maldonado said. With help from a watershed management program led by nonprofit Global Communities, San Antonio del Norte has mitigated the impact of the road construction and improved other aspects of its system to secure the water supply for the population. Along the side of the road, for example, community members planted grasses that help prevent runoff of rocks down the hill into the water reservoir below.

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