In Venezuela, the national supply of drinking water currently reaches 96 percent of the population, while in urban areas that amount is 99 to 100 percent, according to Environment Minister Alejandro Hitcher.
Over the last 13 years, the country has improved its water treatment capacity and restored many drinking water plants. Pipe networks were also repaired to achieve 90 percent confidence in the country’s main aqueducts. Likewise, out of the 21,000 liters of water per second available to the inhabitants of Caracas and the nearby Altos Mirandinos (the most populated area in Miranda state, in the capital region), just 0.5 m³ does not come from the water networks.
“We have to be like the sun, we have to come out every day. Water pumps can’t never stop,” Hitcher said. In 1999, after 10 years without any investments in the hydrological area, 55 percent of the inhabitants of marginal areas lacked drinking water, he said.
In the country’s urban areas, the water supply reached 82 percent of the population, but service remained poor for 48 percent of the people. Water would come every seven days to downtown Caracas. Residents of the neighboring district of El Junquito district (in the capital region) complained that water was available just three or four times a year.
Despite the fact that access to water has increased, some problems remain, thus water pipes are being built to supply the Caracas neighborhoods of La Vega, Coche, Propatria and Caricuao, as part of the Project of Continuous Water Supply Service.
Likewise, in February 2012, another plan will pump water to the populous areas of La Yaguara, Macarao and Las Adjuntas, in western Caracas, so that 90 percent of the inhabitants of the capital city will have uninterrupted access to potable water.
Hitcher also said that the Tuy 4 hydraulic system, which is expected to be finished by June 2012, has been delayed by 152 days due to last year’s drought. The project seeks to satisfy the demand of 20 million people.
How does water become drinkable?
The World Health Organization (WHO) establishes that water must be free of smell, color and flavor, it must be physically and chemically inoffensive to health an must be free of bacteria, for which chlorine is used. A maximum of 0.5 of milligram chlorine is needed per liter.
Environmental authorities are constantly monitoring water treatment process so that when water reaches the water plants it can be made free of bacteria by adding chloride. Subsequently, sediments (mud and clay) are removed with salts.
The next step is to filter with activated carbon to eliminate odors and flavors. Chlorine is applied one more time exceeding by one milligram the WHO parameters and guaranteeing that when water enter the pipes it maintains a residual amount of the product until it is delivered to users. This process guarantees that water is free of bacteria.
AVN / Press Office / Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / March 21, 2012