Below is a little bit of information about drinking water in El Salvador (I translated it into English). The information is from a small book I bought at Equipo Maíz. Equipo Maíz is group of women and men who make brochures and books and teach seminars and workshops on a variety of simple issues that affect the lives of the majority of people in El Salvador. The group has worked in El Salvador since 1983. They came about in the midst of the Civil War from a parish in the outskirts of San Salvador in order to assist the need of understanding what was happening during those years. Through the years they have maintained their two key themes of training and publication.
I decided to share this information because everything that’s been going on in Río de los Bueyes has been making me think more about water (See previous blog entitled “Stealing Water”).
From this water we should not drink
A World Bank report from 2005 cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)1 states that “El Salvador is in last place in terms of access to water and the second lowest in access to sanitation among Latin American countries.”
It is a paradox that a country with tropical climate, where it does not fail to rain, drinking water is scarce and what little there is is of poor quality and badly managed.
What’s worse is that the flows of rivers of the country “…tend to decrease over time, as clearly evidenced by comparing the average flow rate of each place.”2 In addition, 90% water of the rivers in El Salvador are polluted.
Drinking water: What’s this?
It is water which is pure enough to be consumed by people and animals without risk of illness. Water sources are usually wells (groundwater), rivers, lakes, and rainwater tanks. To be safe, that water must be purified.
43% of rural homes have piped water
85.4% of households in cities have piped water
64% of households in El Salvador have water service, which in many cases is not drinkable
1) PNUD. “El agua, una valoración económica de los recursos hídricos en El Salvador.” Octubre de 2006.