Thursday, May 31, 2007

New summary of water woes

The statistics on access to potable water, even when pipes come up to your house, are not very encouraging according to this article by Raul Guttierez at IPS:

Acevedo, a chapter coordinator for the UNDP Human Development Report on El Salvador, agreed that this country has met the MDG target on water access. But he added that over the last three years, the country has fallen behind again due to lack of continued public investment, waste of water resources, and population growth.

In addition, cases of corruption were discovered in the Administración Nacional de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (ANDA), El Salvador's main water and sanitation company. Carlos Perla, president of the enterprise from 1994 to 2002, is now in prison on charges of corruption.

Acevedo told IPS that water quality in this Central American country is a "disaster" and added that "no one is recommended to drink the water provided by ANDA or any other provider."

ANDA claims to provide water treatment and distribution services to 4.4 million of El Salvador's 6.5 million people.

Meanwhile, the number of people drinking bottled water is growing, and the companies that sell such water make an estimated 43 million dollars a year, according to UNDP figures. Good business, despite the fact that independent studies have warned that fecal coliforms have even been found in bottled water.(more)

You can read my earlier series on El Salvador's water woes here.

10 comments:

inner-self said...

oh man!!!
what a shame, it makes u not want to visit el salvador when u can even be sure that bottled water is at least minimally safer than drinking from a well or the river.
i'm surprised that the government has not dissolved ANDA entirely, even if it is not privatized, but re-invented or restructured with more accountable directors. it is all a big, nasty, smelly shame!!!

Anonymous said...

More accountable directos would mean getting ARENA out of the way. That would be suitable for doing both things, chances of getting a responsible director and not one bent in sabotage to excuse a privatization, and two more public funding on projects of a social nature, instead of army and similar things.

Speaking of waste of water resources, how many water parks does El Salvador, and how much water do they use? That I believe is a shame, when this water issue turns into critical stage, it wouldn't surprise me to see big business of El Salvador "asking for the population" to manage better the water resource, when as with electricity they are the biggest spenders and wasters.

HODAD26 said...

you can take your bottle in the city to Europa, there they have a ozinator
now whether it functions well or not, i would debate, [just how it is in 3rd world, no maintenance and fix it when it breaks]
but it seems to be working,
sad the folks in rural areas do not have this option
and............
you folks have not thrown out the gold miners yet?
what are you waiting for, me to get the 6000 artesanal fishermen involved as we need fish bait
wake the f... up!
what do you think gold mining wil do to your water in ES
it is very difficult in countries with not much common sense
very
and remember agua cristal got caught filling their jugs from city water, probably still are
Bayer Labs on Olympia has ozinators
and i guess it is back to those systems we used in Mexico for years, the ceramic with silver iodide
shame shame

Anonymous said...

In the newspapers in several occassions has appeared a news item that says that in the water in Opico huge traces of lead have been found, the source is linked to a planta of battery maker Record (who the owner by the way was Minister of Economy under Paco Flores' mandate, his name currently escapes me). The thing is that without a doubt water in this country has been severely mismanaged and contaminated by the population in general, that does make bottled water more appealing (but after looking at what has been said here, it appears that the water problem is so severe that even the integrity of the "purified" water has to be questioned), now imagine the hundreds of folks that don't have the capacity to acquire every week such commodity, that need to go to rivers (6 out of ten rivers in el salvador are contaminated) to do their daily chores? In my opinion, this is one of the mayor reasons why the population isn't as big as thought, because so bad living conditions that infertility rates have increased. And now, as hodad pointed out, with the minings, traces of cyionide, arsenic and whatever other chemicals the mining companies use, the water in this country might as well be called toxic waste. It is a damn pitty though that the government as per usual sides with the big businesses instead of the population with the most eerie example of soldiers giving security to the mining companies.

http://www.tutelalegal.org/

El-Visitador said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
El-Visitador said...

Easy: sell the country's water rights to a company or class of companies.

The owners of the rights will have every incentive to distribute it (to make $$$), will thereby build acqueducts and pipes to everywhere ... and, to protect their inventory, will sue each and every polluter in the land. Including any unruly miners.

Since the water today belongs to everyone, it belongs to no-one.

The tragedy of the commons is what ails us today.

Anonymous said...

The government itself could go suing every single polluter or enforcing any environmental laws, but the truth is that even with privatized water under the hands of ARENA partners, the quality of water, the access to water would be questionable. In short, if you don't have the $$$ to pay for a sucky over-expensive monopoly in hands of Cristiani, Flores, Domenech, Poma, Calderon, Hill, Regalado, or any other of those stinkers then you will still not have water. Besides, it should be common knowlegde by now that the ARENA government has run every single government enterprise with the sole goal of "privatization" so they have every reason to mismanage things in order to justify privatization.

Anonymous said...

Water, water every where, but not a drop to drink

wally said...

It´s interesting to note that of the articles linked to, few ever make note of any progress being made. A hypothetical example would be if say ANDA had actually brought water to double the households that had water before, the article would not mention that but focus solely on what percentage of houses that still did not have water and the negative quality of the water being received. I´m not saying that doesn´t need to be reported, obviously it does but the problem with that approach is it´s not the whole truth. People can´t make rational decisions or opinions based on half truths. I see that mindset reflected in some of the comments here. A lot of the people I talk to here are only aware of the bad things happening in their country. The sad thing is that destroys hope in the long run. The reality is that El Salvador probably ranks somewhere just below the middle of countries that people would rather live in than their own. Even in Central America the poor in the surrounding countries are beginning to see El Salvador as offering a better way of life compared to their own country. But for a lot of people here that would come as a shock because they´ve only been told what they don´t have. Tim, you impress me as someone who loves this country, as I do, and also as a fair minded guy. I challenge you to find some good news about El Salvador. How much has the percentage of people with housing, and kids in school increased in the last 5 years? We only hear about those who don´t have housing or whose kids aren´t in school. Does that mean no progress has been made? If progress has been made, why is it good that it should not be reported? At the least it would offer people hope, and from my experience here, that´s very muchly needed.

Anonymous said...

I just got back from El Salvador and it's really anice place with great, warm friendly people. SO why cn't they get it right down there?