Local August 19, 2023 | 8:00 am

The country suffers from increasing water stress

More water infrastructure needs to be built

Lack of infrastructure, deforestation, and degradation of the quality of water bodies.
Even though the average precipitation (rainfall) in the Dominican Republic is 75% higher than the world average, less than 10% of this water is potentially usable through water infrastructure, such as dams, reservoirs, and others, and the ideal would be 40%.

“The country is suffering from increasing water stress. That means that the amount of water we have available to supply homes and economic activities is insufficient, which is becoming a major setback for development,” said Economy Minister Pavel Isa Contreras.

He explained that the water supply is insufficient for four reasons. The first is a lack of infrastructure; the second is that deforestation has produced erosion and excessive sedimentation in the dams, reducing the capacity of the reservoirs faster than expected. The third is that people have degraded the quality of water bodies, in the case of surface water, due to sewage contamination and groundwater due to overexploitation and the resulting saline intrusion. And the fourth is that the water demand is growing significantly as the economy and population increase.

Isa Contreras emphasized that this is why last Tuesday, the Dominican Water Pact was signed, hoping that it will be the basis of the State policy that will lead to institutional and governance reform, capitalization, and modernization for sustainability and equity in water management. And drinking water and sanitation services are inefficient; there is a tremendous waste of water, and agriculture, which is by far the activity that demands the most water in the country, must have irrigation technification to increase its savings.

Isa emphasized that there is a weak regulatory framework regarding water resources, and there is no explicit institutional framework with well-defined mandates and limits to adequately preserve the ecological flows, define priority uses, and establish service charges.

He added that the country must move towards having a General Water Law; a Drinking Water and Sanitation Services Law; new regulations, policies, and instruments for managing and modernizing irrigation. And especially for the benefit of the poorest households.

In addition, the construction of water infrastructure with social and environmental sustainability criteria should be accelerated.

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Paul Tierney
August 19, 2023 9:00 am

Of course, not mentioned is the negligent attitude of government to promptly repair leaking water distribution pipes.

The government should require only water conserving plumbing fixtures be sold to consumers. There should be in place quotas of how much water may be consumed for residential and commercial use.

alfredo
August 20, 2023 8:57 am
Reply to  Paul Tierney

The quotas you mention are already in place…in my neighborhood there are many more days when the water is turned off…and its not a barrio…

Last edited 1 month ago by alfredo