The Value of Water

 We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one. ~ Jacques Yves Cousteau ~

We all need at least 20 to 50 liters of fresh, safe water a day for drinking, cooking and keeping ourselves clean.  Unsafe water is the leading cause of sickness and death and access clean and safe and we’ve never had any health issues related to it.   We do have problems with water pressure and that’s why we have a pump and a supplementary tank.

We get our bills based on consumption and we do have a meter that gets read most months.  We paid $8.46 before our pensionado discount ($2.12) for water last month (that is with extra watering of the garden during dry season) and $2.29 for sewage.  There is a minimum of $7.20 charge per month of $5.68 for water and $1.52 for sewage. That same amount of water in Edmonton would cost $79.65, plus a fixed meter rate I’m going to guess $9.46, plus $29.41 for sewage.

Idaan (Instituto de Acueductos y Alcantaeillados Nacional) the national water authority is in charge of water and sanitation in urban areas with more than 1,500 inhabitants, and is in charge of water and sewage in our district.  The town itself draws water from a pumping station located near the old airport on the road to Playa Arenal, although several of the houses that are just outside the boundaries of town have their own wells.  The government of Panama plans to invest $700 million over a span of 20 years to improve drinking water supply and sanitation throughout the country.  Natural disasters, infrastructure failures, a boom in construction and long hot dry seasons have caused water shortages the last few years and campesinos were the most effected. The improvements will help give a continuous water supply to 96 percent of the population.  Statistics show that roughly 840,000 people do not receive 24-hour water supply and 600,000 don’t have running water at all.  Tenders were issued late last year for some of the planned improvements.

Projects include:

  • Improvements to water treatment plants;
  • Development of plants in urban areas;
  • Improvement of aqueduct networks;
  • Construction of plants and distribution networks; and
  • Expansion and improvements of Panama City’s sanitation system.

The town and district are growing and it’s been decided that this is a good time to do some rehabilitation on the water and sewage systems in the burg and 3.5 million dollars is being made in upgrades.  The aim is to make sure there is constant flow and pressure in the water lines and to build a sewage treatment plant that is capable of servicing the pueblo for 25 years.

Improvements to the system include:

  • Installing new pipes from the wells at Calle Playa Arenal to newly constructed pump houses;
  • A new pumping station with a generator that will kick in during power outages ensuring the water isn’t cut off when we’re without electricity;
  • A 100,000 gallon storage tank at the pumping station and a 50,000 gallon tank at the school;
  • Installation of 10” pipeline that interconnects with the old lines; and
  • A new waste treatment system on Playa El Toro road with three handling units consisting of primary treatment ponds and secondary ponds.

Fingers crossed we won’t have too many disruptions once the project gets started.  This new infrastructure will bring the pueblo into the 21 Century; life is getting better in the campo.


About indacampo

You'll find me at blogging about Panama...and other things.
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5 Responses to The Value of Water

  1. Yes, we do take water for granted – until it becomes scarce….

    • indacampo says:

      When we lose both electricity and water for a bit (quite the norm here) we always debate what we miss most. It’s always running water.

  2. Kris says:

    This is good to hear! We were without water many days in the dry season, though it would come back at night. Today is the third day we are without but I think they must be working on something because it seems to go out in the morning and come back in the late afternoon. I’d much rather not have water. We have a supply on hand. No electricity, – then you lose power to the fridge and the computers.

    • indacampo says:

      We were having this debate again the other day. It’s when you go more than a day without water that you really miss it.

  3. Pingback: We Have Water! | The Panama Adventure

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