Canal del Dique Waterkeeper


Nemecio González Peña
[email protected]
(315) 654-4555 ; 3124922360


Canal del Dique is an artificial branch of the Magdalena River, built in the sixteenth century to facilitate navigation and the transport of goods to and from Colombia’s capital port city of Cartagena. The canal supplies Cartagena’s aqueducts to support agriculture and livestock, and also supports artisanal fishing. Two thousand indigenous people and slaves were used to construct the canal, and today the canal directly benefits more than 20 communities that are culturally diverse with African ancestry. However, the health of the canal has been compromised by deforestation and the degradation of soils by agriculture, sedimentation, and chemical waste and spills from ships and oil industries. Inadequate waste management is a problem, and many municipalities do not have sewage systems. Furthermore, pollution that flows through the Magdalena River is diverted by Canal del Dique into the Bay of Cartagena. Canal del Dique Waterkeeper is sponsored by Fundacion Amigos de la Tierra, a civil society organization founded in 2007 focused on vulnerable communities who live in the watershed. Canal del Dique Waterkeeper will advocate for the health and safety of the watershed and its people, and organize community members to fight for their rights to clean and safe water. 

Nemecio González Peña was born in Cartagena, Colombia. His father was a man of the sea and always took him fishing, where he developed his love and commitment to the watershed. As a lawyer, he started his career in commercial banking and then went on to work in public positions in the Congress of the Republic of Colombia in Bogota, representing the communities of Cartagena and the department of Bolivar including the communities near the Canal del Dique, during three legislative periods of four years each. On his return to Cartagena, he formed Fundacion Amigos de la Tierra to work with afro people in vulnerable communities in a situation of displacement, taking care of the environment that surrounds them. Nemecio's experiences and skills, both professional and academic, fit perfectly with the profile of a Waterkeeper. His career in law, with a specialization in the Public 21 Sector, has provided him with broad experience as a litigating lawyer against the private sector, with a particular focus on Afro-community work and a great sensibility for subjects related to the environment and wildlife conservation. Nemecio is equally experienced in the design and organization of training programs, event planning, and community management.


Alameda la Victoria M 1, lot 2