viernes, 12 de junio de 2015

Drought forces Puerto Rico to cut off water in capital most days

Puerto Rico imposed strict water rationing in the capital San Juan from 10 June, following months of drought that had already provoked intermittent cuts in the water supply. Several papers were urging people to stop wasting water. The "greater part of the" capital now had water every three days, or household water was to be cut off for 48 hours every three days, for "up to several months," Spain's EFE news agency cited the head of the water authority Alberto Lázaro as saying. He warned that current shortages could be as bad as 1994, when they lasted for five months. Restrictions were to affect 200,000 users or households whose water came from the Carraízo dam outside the capital, while similar restrictions were to be imposed on "several districts" in the northern part of the island, which has a total population of 3.6 million, Colombia's El Espectador and EFE reported. The drought was said to be possibly due to the El Niño effect, a regional weather condition, and shortages were attributed to failure to properly dredge and maintain dams, which had reduced their storage capacity, EFE observed. The website Primera Hora cited a deputy-head of the water authority as saying on 11 June that some dredging of Carraízo was envisaged by the end of June. He said he hoped the 48-hour restrictions would balance water leaving and entering the dam, which he said was about 40 million gallons a day presently. He contrasted this with amounts entering dams in the western part of Puerto Rico, which were now in excess of 200 million gallons a day, mainly because "it keeps raining" in that part of the island. The daily El Vocero de Puerto Rico carried on 12 June tips on using water responsibly, advising people in the capital not to throw polluting chemical substances into the sink or toilet, not use water to defrost foods and to turn off the tap when brushing teeth. Just rinsing in a shower, it observed, could typically use between two and five gallons (7.5-18 litres) of water.