Govt aims to boost rural potable water access

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The main challenge for Uruguay's government in the water sector is boosting potable water coverage nationwide to 100%, according to state-owned water utility OSE general manager Danilo Ríos.

The topic was addressed following the UN's concerns of growing urban populations worldwide whose water and sanitation demands cannot be met.

Uruguay has reached 99% coverage in departmental capitals, yet lacks potable water supply to rural parts of the country, according to the presidential website.

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To address this challenge, OSE has created a program which aims to expand potable water supply in small, rural towns, benefiting some 8,000 rural households.

Basin management is key to reaching 100% coverage, according to Ríos. And to curb contamination, the government must continue to strictly control water quality via the network of 10 laboratories built following the water quality regulation implemented in 2007.

The country currently reaches 93% coverage nationwide. In 2010, OSE connected 979,235 households to potable water pipelines spanning some 14,260km, the presidential website reported.

By 2015, the government expects to reduce the amount of people without access to potable water by 50%, a goal set by the UN in honor of international water day on March 21.