Panama City water crisis eases as Chilibre plant resumes normal operations

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Panama City's Chilibre potable water plant has resumed producing water that is apt for human consumption, according to canal minister Rómulo Roux, who heads the committee charged with solving the potable water shortage in the city.

Record rainfall in early December caused the plant's water supply to become contaminated with sediment, exceeding its treatment capacity and resulting in shortages throughout the city.

Health ministry tests, which were verified by national water utility Idaan, show water turbidity has returned to acceptable levels, the presidential website reported. Idaan will continue to distribute potable water by truck to areas where service has yet to resume.

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At the request of President Ricardo Martinelli, Idaan will waive water bills for the affected users for the months of December and January, Roux said.

With the crisis resolved, the committee, which includes officials and technical staff from canal authority (ACP) and Idaan, will now turn its attention to increasing potable water production, improving quality control and expanding the service area, Roux added.

Roux has said the committee will continue to support Idaan, local paper La Estrella reported. Authorities will also consider restructuring the utility, Roux was reported as saying.