The Ozama is one of the most important rivers in The Dominican Republic but its waters are heavily contaminated. The river starts in the hills of Siete Cabeza near the town of Altagracia and runs down through the hills of Yamasa. It then follows an irregular trajectory that runs for 148 Kms. until it flows into Santo Domingo’s port. Some important tributaries include the rivers Isabela, Sabita and Yabacao. The Ozama's watershed is a very important water reserve and it is fundamental that it be protected in order for there to be water supply for the people of Santo Domingo. Pollution sources include oxidation from sunken and beached boats and waste water and oils from the Star of the Sea and North Star power plants situated along its shores. As the river enters Santo Domingo, there is also a large number of poor and populous neighborhoods situated along the river that discharge untreated waste waters into the river.
Mr. Henry Pedraza is the Río Ozama Waterkeeper. He is a litigating attorney specializing in civil, commercial, and family law. A native of Colombia, he has served as Secretary General and CEO of Colombia’s Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the North and Amazonian East (cda.gov.co), a gov’t entity that seeks to promote policies that address water, soil, and air pollution; reduce the footprint of industry and establish compensation measures; and encourage the establishment of ‘green” businesses and the payment for environmental services. He advised municipal and state-level authorities and helped draft development and action plans for 3 Colombian departments (the first-level administrative and political divisions of Colombia, equivalent to U.S. states or Canadian provinces). Mr. Pedraza join the Waterkeeper movement when he became the Río Inidira Waterkeeper, a project of the NGO Foundation for the Ethnic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Sustainability of the Colombian Amazon and Oricono Basins (FUNTONINOS, its acronym in Spanish), which Mr. Pedraza still heads. He is a graduate of the School of Law at Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá. Mr. Pedraza resides in the Dominican Republic since 2010.
Santo Domingo, D.N 11111