Guardianes del Rio Cusiana, An Affiliate of Rio Meta Waterkeeper


Leydi Dayanna Lugo Arias
[email protected]
313 207 4430


The Cusiana river watershed in southeastern Colombia originates as 3 creeks —Melgarejo, Las Cañas, and Iglesia— converge.  The river basin has five ecological life zones: the Paramo or plateau at 10,500 feet and above; the high Andes between 8,200 and 10,4500 feet; the low Andes between 3,600 and 8,200 feet;  and the tropical/equatorial between under 3,600 feet. The Cusiana river watershed is one of the most biodiverse in Colombia - 33 endemic fish species and 14 endangered fish species exist in the basin. The forest remnants in the basin are an important refuge for amphibians, which are highly sensitive to human disturbance. There are abundant populations of large reptiles and predators such as Crocodylus intermedius (Cayman Ranger), Caiman crocodylus (common Cayman, Baba) and Boa constrictor (Boa or Guio), among others.  The region is threatened by agro industrial activities, especially cattle ranching and the cultivation of rice, yucca, and palm oil.  It’s also impacted by mining operations that affect not only water flows but also pollute the waters with solid and liquid waste. And lastly, it’s also the site for a heavy oil exploration and extraction.  Various oils companies have secured licenses to drill and exploit oil wells, concessions for the domestic and industrial use of water, permits to dump water into water resources or unoccupied land, and permission for atmospheric emissions. Communities in the watershed are slowly organizing to fight off these threats.

Ms. Leydi Lugo is the Cusiana River Waterkeeper.  She is a recent college graduate who is eager to use her studies and work focused on water resources to defend the community where she lives and of which she is a trusted member. 


Calle 20 Nº 25-18
Yopal, Casanare