Chile announces plans to ration water after 13 year drought
The rivers that bring water to Santiago are running short, causing rotating water cuts to different sections of the city.
As Chile's grueling, record-breaking drought reaches its 13th year, the country's capital, Santiago, has proposed an extraordinary proposal to limit water.
During a press conference, Claudio Orrego, the governor of the Santiago metropolitan region stated that a city "Cannot live without water," adding that the situation in Santiago's 491-year history is "unprecedented."
Orrego warned that "We have to prepare for there not to be enough water for everyone who lives here."
The plan includes a four-tier alert system that goes from green to red and begins with public service announcements, progresses to water pressure restrictions, and concludes with rotating water cuts of up to 24 hours for around 1.7 million consumers.
The alarm system is based on the capacity of the Maipo and Mapocho rivers, which supply the majority of the capital's water and have suffered declining water levels as the drought continues.
According to the government, the country's water availability has decreased by 10% to 37% in the previous 30 years and might decrease by 50% in northern and central Chile by 2060.
The river water deficit, calculated in liters per second, will govern whether cutbacks will occur every four, six, or 12 days. Each day, a different location would experience water restrictions in each situation.
According to Orrego, “This is the first time in history that Santiago has a water rationing plan due to the severity of climate change," adding that citizens should understand that climate change is not only global but local.
The cutbacks will not apply to areas served by well water or other sources other than the two rivers.