Urban formal area
The densely populated neighborhoods of Santa Martha and San Felipe are historic and popular residential areas close to the city center. Hotels, several restaurants, and schools can also be found in this area. These districts mostly dispose of waste using well-developed infrastructure and basic services such as uninterrupted water supply, sewerage system, garbage collection, and electricity. In addition, the city department of waste management is located in San Felipe.
Public access to the river is limited by some topographical features, including densely built private properties on top of the hills and fences installed for the sake of containing waste disposal. In addition, most of the streets and sidewalks are paved; some areas are still unpaved, though. This urban configuration has protected the riparian zone to a certain extent, although some spots are used for illegal garbage disposal.
In regard to the river, there is no continuous flow during dry season. Several ponds are the result of spring sources; however, the water does not run downstream due to the high infiltration capacity of the stream bed. One of the main human impacts on the river is the direct surface drainage which erodes the river bank, flushes fine sediments, and alters its temporal variation. Additional issues are deforestation, informal disposal of construction waste, and discharge of untreated wastewater from collapsed water infrastructure.
Two local initiatives have been founded independently as attempts to tackle these issues. Both initiatives promote the rescuing of the river using social media and collective clean-up campaigns. The San Felipe waste management department is also involved in attempts to help the river.