PERU: Water Isn’t for Everyone

by Dave

IPSNews

Water is not only in short supply in Peru, but it is also poorly distributed in relation to the population. Seventy percent of the people live in the arid strip along the Pacific Ocean, where just 1.8 percent of the country’s freshwater supply is found.

Lima, on the coast, is home to eight million people, or 30 percent of the total population. It is the world’s second largest city located in a desert, after Cairo in Egypt. It is estimated that between one million and two million people in the city do not have potable water.

At one point in his first term (1985-1990), President Alan GarcĂ­a proposed moving the enormous population of Lima to another site, but that idea has not been mentioned again during his current term. Instead, he turned his campaign promise of “water for all” into a strategic programme of his administration, which proposes hefty investment in 185 piped water and sanitation projects.

The stated objective is to expand potable water services from 76 to 88 percent of households; sanitation from 57 to 77 percent; and sewage treatment from 22 to 100 percent by 2015.
Of the world’s glaciers found in tropical latitudes, 71 percent are in Peru, 22 percent are in Bolivia, four percent in Ecuador, and three percent in Colombia.

Peru’s total glacier-covered area has shrunk from 2,042 square kilometres to 1,596 square kilometres in the last 30 years, says engineer Marco Zapata, head of the Glaciology and Water Resources Unit of the National Water Authority, in the northwest province of Huaraz.

That is 446 square km fewer glaciers, which represents an estimated seven billion cubic meters of water – the equivalent of 10 years of water consumption in Lima.

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