Santa Elena, Jauary 19th, 2016. (venezuelanalyis.com)- For the first time since 1969 Venezuela has seen three consecutive years of drought, bringing nearly all primary reservoirs across the country to critically low levels.
Citing El Niño and other climactic factors, Ecosocialism and Water Minister Ernesto Paiva informed reporters yesterday of a multi-faceted program being launched by the government to ensure access in the coming year.
“Drought is a phenomenon we cannot avoid but we can endure […] it calls for us to work together to take the necessary actions,” Paiva said.
The nation’s most populated regions, including coastal cities Caracas, La Guaira, and Maracaibo, have been profoundly affected, with many residents seeing intermittent or absolute cuts in home service over the past six months.
Average water consumption in Caracas residents is 450 liters daily per person, compared with the global average of 250 liters a day, said Paiva.
The minister explained that local governments are currently hosting open meetings for people to voice their community’s concerns, and 70 offices have been opened across the country to address neighborhood proposals.
“Before it was the water companies that decided the breadth of their services, now it is the organized people who will decide,” Paiva said.
The government also plans to expand well perforation and has charged the Armed Forces with safeguarding communities against leaks and unauthorized ventures with public water.
The construction of two desalination plants in coastal states Falcon and Vargas is also underway, and authorities say they will began to provide water by the end of 2016.
On Saturday, representatives of the country’s water companies met to coordinate efforts for maintaining access through May, when rainy season is expected to start.