HomeTop StoriesColombia's capital begins rationing water after reservoirs reach record low levels

Colombia’s capital begins rationing water after reservoirs reach record low levels

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Luis Soler provides water as if it were the most expensive ingredient at his restaurant in Colombia’s capital.

For the first time in four decades, a severe drought has forced the city to ration tap water. Nothing flowed through the pipes at Soler’s restaurant in Bogota on Friday. Thanks to the city’s warnings, he was able to prepare for the change by buying bottled water for cooking and stocking up on tap water for washing dishes. Since his entire neighborhood was experiencing the same discomfort as the restaurant, he expected sales to increase, not decrease. .

“I don’t think the impact will be big. On the contrary, we are waiting for sales to improve slightly, because there is no water nearby and many people are not going to cook,” said Soler.

Officials in Bogota have turned to water relations after reservoirs reached historically low levels due to the combination of high temperatures and lack of rainfall caused by the El Niño climate phenomenon.

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Rationing started on Thursday. It will impact neighborhoods three times a month in 24-hour periods. Local officials will review the measure every 15 days to decide whether it should be abolished, maintained or increased.

Bogota residents had not experienced water rationing since 1997, when a technical glitch in the system forced officials to restrict water supplies. The last drought-induced rationing took place in 1984.

Officials have recommended that people store only the amount of water they absolutely need, avoid washing cars and take water-saving measures at home, even when showering.

“Shower with your partner,” Bogota Mayor Carlos Fernando Galán suggested. “It is a pedagogical exercise in saving water.”

Given the recommendation not to wash cars frequently, companies that provide this service may be affected.

“Fewer people are coming in. I can imagine people thinking it’s not open, but it’s also very good that we provide the water,” said John Guerrero, a car wash owner.

Bogota uses an average of 18 cubic meters of water per second, and with the rationing system, officials aim to reduce 2 cubic meters of water per second. Officials hope to fill the reservoirs more than 70% by the end of the year.

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