Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli has said the government plans to build a new potable water plant in the capital, according to a presidential release.
"We're going to build another potable water plant in Panama City near the Bayano river to provide water for the eastern area so we don't depend solely on the Madden lake and Chilibre potable water plant," Martinelli said.
The capital suffered a severe water shortage in December and January when the Chilibre plant broke down following heavy rain that led its main supply to become contaminated with sediment.
Martinelli will ask the Panama Canal authority (ACP) to help administer and operate the plant while national water utility Idaan undergoes restructuring. ACP's participation would also facilitate the plant's upgrade, said canal affairs minister Rómulo Roux.
The government has pressured UK firm Biwater to complete the plant's expansion and repair, which is part of its contract with Idaan, Martinelli added, saying the plant should produce 250Mg/d.