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Uruguay's govt launches committee to safeguard Santa Lucía river

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Uruguay's government has established a committee in charge of coordinating a set of measures aimed at safeguarding the waters of the Santa Lucía river, capital Montevideo's major source of potable water. The committee, which is made up of representatives from the national government, local authorities and the civil society, will work "to make local water uses sustainable as well as to administrate potential conflicts among water users," a statement from the presidency reads. The increasing contamination of the Santa Lucía river water, mostly due to wastewaters coming from agriculture and livestock, is emerging as a major threat to Montevideo's water supply, as state water utility OSE is experiencing trouble in fully treating its waters. The emergency arose in March, when smelly tap water alarmed the city's inhabitants and forced the government to react. "The [committee's] measures are thought to control and minimize the river contamination alongside fostering its safeguard by establishing areas where agriculture is not allowed," the statement added. OSE is also looking for alternative sources of water for Montevideo to mitigate the risk related to the Santa Lucía basin contamination.

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