Colombia’s Capital Begins Water Rationing, Asks Couples to Bathe Together

Colombia’s capital Bogotá will begin phasing out water rationing for at least a year starting Thursday, Mayor Carlos Fernando Galán announced on Monday.

Garan claimed Limited access to running water It aims to alleviate drought caused by the El Niño weather pattern, which has seen water levels in reservoirs supplying Colombia’s capital drop to “alert” levels.

“This situation is clearly related to El Niño and the worsening of El Niño last week as rain was expected and reservoir trends were expected to change,” Galan said. “But that didn’t happen. We went through one of the driest marches in history, which worsened the situation and led to the situation we’re seeing.”

Galan said that although reservoir levels are predicted to be low in 2024, the outcome was worse than expected and warned that “2025 is predicted to be more critical than 2024.” .

San Rafael Reservoir, source of drinking water for people bogotáOn April 5, 2024, Colombia experienced low temperatures due to the El Niño phenomenon. (AP Photo/Ivan Valencia)

Water distribution in Bogotá will begin on Thursday, April 11, 2024 at 8 a.m. The plan is to divide Bogotá into nine zones, with each zone left without water, one at a time, for 24 hours. It will restart every 10 days.

Galan said authorities will reevaluate distribution schedules every two weeks, stressing that the goal is to achieve “behavioral changes” that will allow water services to continue.

“We have the goal of achieving a change in the behavior of the people of Bogotá, so that we can guarantee the provision of water services not only in the short and medium term but also next year,” Galán said.

The announcement of rationing did not result in a decrease in water consumption in Bogotá; reportedly This led to an immediate increase in consumption, rising from an average of 17 cubic meters per second to 18.3 cubic meters per second on Monday.

Galan said in an interview with Noticias Caracol on Tuesday. warned Sanctions will be imposed on those who “waste water” during rationing.

“I have asked the Secretary-General and the Aqueduct to assess sanctions in case of water wastage,” Galan said. “Those who end up using more water than planned will be subject to sanctions.”

During the interview, Mr. Galan said several “chip” talked about ways to conserve water and suggested that Bogota residents not take a bath if they are at home.

“If you’re not going to leave the house on Sunday, don’t take advantage of it and take a bath,” Galan said. “Stay home on the weekend and take a bath on Monday.”

“If we can significantly reduce bathing time for many people, this message will be of great help to us,” he continued. “When you have kids, you know it’s not that serious and you say, ‘Oh, Dad,’ let’s just do what’s necessary.”

Galan claimed he was cutting back on the amount of time he spent in the shower. “I’ll do it in three minutes,” he said.

View of the San Rafael Reservoir in La Calera, Colombia, March 12, 2024. (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP, Getty Images)

Another “tip” suggested by Mr. Galan was that couples can bathe together.

“Take a bath as a couple. Saving water is an educational practice and nothing else,” he said. “Things like that will help us a lot. These behavioral changes are key.”

Mayor said The distribution schedule will be evaluated every two weeks to see if it needs to be maintained, reduced or increased.

“Everything depends on the rain, and we are hopeful that it will finally start to fall, but that depends on the reduction in consumption,” he said. “If there is no change in behavior, [of the citizens]We need to focus on the restrictions and eventually extend the restrictions in time and tighten the restrictions. ”

Natasha Avendaño, owner of the Bogota Water Company, provided the following services to the residents of Bogotá: for reference It calculates how to “properly” manage water reserves during the rationing period, and is based on a family of three, and according to the water company’s manager, “two 12-litre buckets, two medium-sized pots. , meets the basic needs of a pitcher.

“This is 34 liters of water. This is enough to complete the days of restriction without any inconvenience, without cleaning the house, just meeting the basic needs of eating, personal hygiene and, of course, hygiene. It should be enough that you can live without it,” Avendaño said.

Christian K. Caruso is a Venezuelan writer who chronicles life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.