Chagres River Waterkeeper


Sonia Montenegro
[email protected]
+(507) 236-0866

As the largest river in the Panama Canal's watershed, the Chagres has great historical, cultural, social, economic and public health significance for Panama. Originally named Lagartos River in 1502 by Christopher Columbus, the Chagres was eventually named after the indigenous chief who ruled the upper Chagres during the Spanish conquest. The river was damned in 1913 to form Lake Gatún and again in 1931 to create Lake Alajuela. The water supplied by the Chagres guarantees transit of ships that pass through the 48-mile-long Panama Canal and is used to generate hydroelectricity. The Chagres provides potable water for 1.6 million Panamanians. 

Ms. Sonia Montenegro is the interim Waterkeeper at Chagres River Waterkeeper and Executive Director of its parent organization - Panama's Centro de Incidencia Ambiental (Center for Environmental Advocacy or CIAM, its acronym in Spanish). She is  responsible for articulating her organization’s strategy, representing CIAM at public events, and ensuring the smooth running of CIAM’s projects.  She has served in various roles in development and environmental nonprofits as well as government entities including: Panama's Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture; Panama's Network of Private Nature Reserves; the Asociación Nacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (National Association for Conservation); Panama's National Bureau of Science and Technology (SENACYT, its acronym in Spanish); Panama's Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Embassy of Japan in Panama. She has a degree in International Relations from University of Panama, an MBA from Santa María La Antigua Catholic University, a Project Management degree from the University of Louisville (Kentucky), and a professional certificate in global governance from the Diplomatic Academy of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Urbanización Los Ángeles, Avenida de los Periodistas No.G14
Panamá, Provincia de Panamá