Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Puerto Rico: Commonwealth's Problems Increase with Drought in Greater San Juan

According to The Latin American Tribune, drought-stricken Puerto Rico soon will begin implementing an alternate-day water rationing plan that will affect some 300,000 residents of Greater San Juan.

Water rationing will begin on August 6 for customers served by the Carraizo reservoir, the president of the state-owned utility AAA, Alberto Lazaro, told a press conference.

Customers whose water comes from the La Plata reservoir will have to join the rationing program starting on August 14.

Lazaro said that the water cutbacks will only affect AAA customers who are supplied from those two reservoirs, which provide water to part of the metropolitan area, where about half of Puerto Rico’s 3.6 million people live.

The rest of the island, for the moment, will not have to suffer any kind of water cutbacks given that the reservoirs supplying them are remaining at acceptable levels.

Lazaro said that the supply cuts are conditioned on the possible arrival of rain, since a weather system that could bring precipitation to Puerto Rico next weekend is moving toward the island.

He said that customers affected by the cutbacks will continue to receive water from cistern trucks between 0700-0900 hours on days when rationing is in effect.

COMMENT: Lazaro recommended that members of the public store two or three gallons of water per person per day for the days when the water supply is curtailed.

Puerto Rico’s Department of Consumer Affairs on Wednesday issued an order freezing prices for bottled water, ice, cisterns, cistern parts and, in general, any item related to water.

The moderate drought that Puerto Rico has been experiencing for months has caused damage to the island’s crops, as Agriculture Secretary Myrna Comas Pagan said on Tuesday, noting that $20 million in losses has been sustained so far due to the lack of rainfall.

Meanwhile, authorities have implemented a plan to subsidize the purchase of concentrated feed for livestock raisers, a fund for which an initial $170,000 has been allocated.