Emaap to tap underground Quito water

- Wednesday, November 12, 2003

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Inhabitants of Ecuador's capital, Quito, could soon be drinking water from underground aquifers, La Hora reported. Quito's water utility Emaap has started a project to extract this natural resource and will host a conference of international water experts on November 21 to discuss the project, an Emaap official told BNamericas.

Oscar Larrea, a specialist engineer working on the project, said that investigations to delineate the extent of the resource are ongoing. "The water exists at different levels at depths of 200 meters to 300 meters and could flow at a rate of 1,000 l/s," he told BNamericas.

A bidding process will be launched by the end of the year to find a project developer, he added.

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Emaap plans to carry out a promotion campaign to warn Quito's population of the dangers of destroying this resource by pollution. The porous rock is vulnerable to effluent from the surface, and if the underground water is contaminated, the resource is lost.

Ecuador's cities, with the exception of Quito, have low drinking water consumption coverage, according to the project directorate. Guayaquil, for example, has domestic service to about 40% of inhabitants.

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