Uruguayan government rejects warnings about water crisis | News
A group of experts from the United Nations Organization (UN) urged this Thursday the government of Uruguay to prioritize the use of fresh water for human consumption in the framework of the water crisis that the South American country is going through, which was not favorably received by the government of Luis Lacalle Pou.
Works announced to contain the water crisis in Uruguay
In a letter, among whose signatories are the special rapporteur on the Human Right to Drinking Water and Sanitation, Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, and the president of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Damilola Olawuyi, it is noted that 60 percent of the population has been affected by the increase in the salinity of the water.
The specialists, with several years of experience, highlighted that "although the high levels of salt are attributed to the failure of the water infrastructure, aggravated by abnormally long periods of water stress, the underlying problem is the overexploitation of water, especially by some industries in the country.
The high levels of salinity in the #water drinking from #Uruguay They continue to affect more than 60% of the population. I urge the government to prioritize access to safe water, over industrial uses, especially in cases of extreme drought. Press release here: https://t.co/NeJntgMK13 pic.twitter.com/pYxl5kvLT1
— Pedro Arrojo Agudo, UN Special Rapporteur (@SRWatSan)
July 13, 2023
For these reasons, they explained, "it is necessary to deepen the measures to guarantee that all people can access the water necessary for life", since these high levels of salinity, for example, affect "significantly vulnerable groups, such as children and adolescents, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases.
The experts recognized the efforts made by the Uruguayan Executive such as the exemption of taxes on bottled water; However, the government responded to the exhortation through a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which it described what the experts expressed as “inaccuracies”.
For its part, the Uruguayan Foreign Ministry notified that the values of chlorine and sodium in the water “are not considered alarming, since the authorized increase in order to ensure the supply has been evaluated by the health and academic authorities; those who have considered that the vast majority of the population can continue consuming it”.
In the text, the diplomatic entity recalled that the Ministry of Social Development provided for its beneficiaries (supported by family allowances, old-age assistance, liabilities that receive a minimum income) monetary support to buy 60 liters of water per month, particularly the pregnant women and children under 2 years of age.
The text also remarked that, as a way to prevent the water crisis and preserve the health of the population, the administration of State Sanitary Works (OSE) and the Executive designed a strategy based on "maintaining the continuity of public supply without carrying out supply cuts".
Likewise, "maintain the sanitation service so that the more than 550,000 homes in the Metropolitan Region can evacuate domestic wastewater, keep the distribution networks operational continuously to combat and protect against fires and urban accidents," he explained.
The text in question emphasizes that "the Government never recommended reducing human consumption of water, but rather its reduction in non-essential activities with the purpose of ensuring better water quality for a longer time." In this sense, he adds that "the water is still drinkable."
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