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Latin America faces a growing need to address water leaks and mismanagement which cost companies and governments US$5.78bn a year, according to BNamericas' latest Infrastructure Intelligence Series.
A BNamericas poll carried out among executives, experts, NGO representatives and government officials showed that 43.9% of interviewees think investments in the area should focus on better management and loss reduction, while another 28.1% feels money should be spent on more reservoirs and pipelines.
According to a recent CAF report, Latin America could easily more than double its much-needed investment in drinking water and sanitation services, simply by controlling the widespread inefficiency in the industry.
Latin America loses 40-50% of its water resources through broken pipes, its delinquency rates exceed 15% in average and the region has almost twice as many workers in the sector than are needed according to international standards.
CAF estimated that Latin American countries lose US$5.78bn a year due to delinquency, over-employment in the industry and water lost due to misused or broken pipes.
This amount exceeds the US$4.4bn invested per year in the industry and could help close the gap with the US$12.5bn a year that CAF estimated the region needs to expand sanitation services and provide universal access to drinking water.
"Public and private investment should focus primarily on the management and reduction of losses," according to the BNamericas report.
Latin America has achieved 90% access to drinking water, but a quarter of those connections are precarious or unstable. Furthermore, less than 30% of the population has access to water treatment services.