The Lima water board, Sedapal, began to reduce the pressure of the city’s water supply this week, in an effort to offset the lack rain in the central Andes. The measure will be applied from 8pm through to 4:30am every day until rains begin to raise the water level in the lakes that feed Lima.
Sedapal is also asking municipalities to promote a wiser use of potable water, particularly during the summer and the February carnival.
According to Yolanda Andía, Sedapal’s production and distribution manager, Lima’s average per capita consumption of water is 250 liters per day, 150% more than what the World Health Organization suggests as necessary.Sedapal’s production and distribution manager, Yolanda Andía, at the Atarjea plant in east Lima. Photo: LaRepublica
In a desert city of 10 million, the effects of that overuse can be noticeable. Most of the water is lost due to dripping taps, dripping toilet tanks or fully open taps when washing dishes or hand-washed laundry. There are parts of Lima that still do not have running water and sewage, and others
The weather bureau, Senamhi, said there will be little rain this season. At the moment, both the Chillon and Rimac rivers feeding Lima have 40% less water than usual at this time of year.
“November was a very dry month,” said Nelson Quispe, a climatologist at Senamhi. “There was not even 10% of the rain there should have been, which means we have not been able to store the amount of water expected, in the reservoirs nationwide.”
Lima currently has a deficit of 30% in its water supply, compared with records over the past five years.
This year during the dry season between May and November, Andía said, the natural lakes at Marcapomacocha were partially drained to supply water to Lima, but there are no plans at present to use water from the Antacoto, Huascacocha and Yuracmayo dams high in the mountains above Lima.