The growing and rapid urbanization experienced by Latin America means the cities of the continent play an increasingly important role in the availability of water. As they accommodate more and more population, the available resources come under greater pressure.
Although the continent has the largest water reserves in the world - World Bank data indicate that it has 33% of the total resources, which translates into an availability of 3,100 m3 per capita per year - supply in some large cities is limited or scarce.
The region has undergone noticeable progress in the area of water supply and coverage in cities, but is lagging far behind in rural areas and even more so in terms of service quality and the provision of sanitation and wastewater treatment.
The protection of the environment is also in jeopardy. It is estimated that only 30% of the water used in the region is treated before it is discharged into natural water bodies, leading to contamination and putting the health of millions of Latin Americans at risk.
Due to the urgent need for water infrastructure, in some countries of the region important investment plans are being developed in large water infrastructure, such as aqueducts, potable and wastewater treatment plants, desalination plants and management, opening up increasingly more space for private sector participation.
In fact, the participants in our Infrastructure Survey 2019 ranked water-related projects as particularly important compared to other infrastructure sectors in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, where between 20% and 43% of respondents reported that water projects offer the best investment opportunities in 2019.