La Paz needs US$300mn to replace pipelines

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bolivian city La Paz needs at least US$300mn to replace ageing and deteriorated pipelines in its central district, according to Gabriela Niño de Guzmán, president of La Paz's municipal council.

"For La Paz alone at least US$300mn are needed, as the sewerage and potable water network in the city center has to be changed," the official was quoted as saying by radio FM Bolivia.

As well as replacing pipelines, city water utility Epsas needs to restructure its management, according to outgoing company head Víctor Rico.

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Epsas, a public company, receives funding from La Paz, which it uses to partly subsidize water rates in neighboring El Alto city. However, the utility has invested more in El Alto.

Of the US$97.5mn Epsas invested over the past five years, 59.2% was allocated exclusively to El Alto, FM Bolivia said in a separate report.

Both La Paz and El Alto need increased investment in water, particularly to rectify the lack of sanitary sewerage and poor domestic connections, Niño de Guzmán added.