Drought leaves millions in Uruguay without tap water fit for drinking - The Guardian

More than half of Uruguay’s 3.5 million citizens are without access to tap water fit for drinking, and experts say the situation could continue for months.

Some had predicted the crisis years ago when pointing out the vulnerability of the single reservoir supplying water to the metropolitan area around the capital, Montevideo.

By Latin American standards, Uruguay is a high-income country and it has historically thought of itself as having abundant water resources. Those who warned of diminishing supplies were considered catastrophists and investment was postponed.

Three consecutive years of drought have almost emptied the reservoir of fresh water, and to avoid shortages the state-run water supplier, [the National Administration of State Sanitary Works (OSE)], has since the beginning of the year been gradually adding brackish water from the Rio de la Plata estuary.

By early May the mix had reached the maximum levels of sodium and chlorides recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), and now it has double those levels, giving the water a repulsive taste and raising questions about potential effects on health.

The government has exempted bottled water from taxes and announced it would provide free bottled water to more than 500,000 people.

Read the full story here

The Guardian

Locations: Montevideo, Uruguay Uruguay 

Organizations: National Administration of State Sanitary Works (OSE) (Uruguay) 

Tags: Thirst Drought Climate Change Corporate Negligence 

Type: Headlines