The Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa is facing a “humanitarian crisis” due to water scarcity, according to the head of the country’s water and sewage service (SANAA) Leonel Gomez.
He said: ““The situation in Tegucigalpa is a true humanitarian crisis, because without potable water there is no life.”
The water shortages could threaten public health. A damaged sewage system, closure of businesses and schools have also been cited as among the possibilities if water scarcity persists.
Gomez says that as a result of past mismanagement of water resources, insufficient water infrastructure has been developed. Now it will take years to get the country ready for the anticipated increased pressure on resources due to population increase and the effects of climate change.
Water is being rationed in Tegucigalpa, with people lining up to get water from trucks as tap water only runs once every 7 days. The head of the city’s water services, Manuel Amador, however, warns that if in May the situation does not improve, residents may see water rationing further increased to only having tap water twice a month.
The situation in the capital is critical with people waiting long hours for water, having to walk big distances to do laundry and there are reports of water pipes being ruptured so that people can illegally collect water and later sell it.
Elsewhere in the country, the situation is also worrying with not enough water for agriculture.
SANAA’s Leonel Gomez said that as building new dams will take years, the only solution now is to try to maximise the capture of rainfall. He pointed, however, to another culprit to the difficult situation: “If we don’t acknowledge that we need to stop deforestation and massive tree burning, we will have an even more severe crisis in the coming years.”