Water scarcity in the face of record rain fall

Photograph source: World Food Programme


Tim of Tim’s El Salvador Blog recently posted a summary of the water situation in El Salvador that is striking.

“The availability of healthy water continues to be a serious challenge for El Salvador, and the Deluge of 2011 has only made it worse.”

The rest of the post outlines facts that affect the water situation in El Salvador such as:

  • 10,186 wells were destroyed or contaminated by the flooding
  • 28,862 latrines were damaged in the flooding
  • “…water supply in El Salvador is hovering on the threshold of 1,700 cubic metres of water per person per year, the upper limit for the definition of water stress. ” IPS
  • “…only two percent of the rivers contain water that can be made fit for human consumption, or used for irrigation or recreational activities.” IPS
  • “…92.9 percent of the urban population has piped water, but the proportion in rural areas is only 63.9 percent.” IPS

The fact that a high amount of rain falls on El Salvador every year yet there is a shortage of water for Salvadorans in their homes seems like an opportunity to incorporate rainwater catchment strategies. There are several ways for people to capture water for safe use in this climate.

  • Infiltrate water that falls on impervious surfaces such as roofs and patios.
  • Capture water in a tank or cistern that falls on impervious surfaces today for use tomorrow.
  • Use untreated rain water to irrigate plants, wash cars or flush toilets
  • Filter and treat water for use in showers and sinks outside the kitchen
  • Treat water for use in the kitchen and for drinking
  • Capture large amounts of water during the rainy season for use during the dry season