Water Quality in VenezuelaThe Latin American country of Venezuela is located in the north of South America. Mostly known for its tropical climate thanks to its bordering the Caribbean sea, this country has been dealing with some concerning political changes for the past few decades.

Ex-president Hugo Chavez took hold of Venezuela in 1999 and handed over rule to Nicolas Maduro before his death, in 2013. The country has functioned under an authoritarian form of government for the past two decades.

With an oil revenue based economy, Venezuela was once considered one of the richest countries in Latin America. But in the year 2014, the country saw itself submerged in an economic crisis after oil prices fell in the economic market. As a result, resources of all types are now lacking in the country. Citizens struggle every day to get food and clean water for their families, electricity in their homes, medicine and other basic necessities to live. The lack of resources has lead to a humanitarian crisis caused, partly, by the government. In spite of the negative impact that Chavez had on Venezuela throughout his regime, one thing he managed to improve was water quality in the country. Investments towards social programs and sanitation helped improve the quality of water.

Chavez’s initiatives, though, failed in the long run. After Chavez’s death Maduro tried to solve the issue and has continued to try for three years now, but the government’s unresponsive officials have not helped to improve the situation.

Water quality in Venezuela has become an important issue that needs to be solved fast. The problem is to the point where not only is water not widely accessible to all citizens, but some of the water that is available has become contaminated and polluted. As awareness has increased so has the knowledge that Venezuela is in need of help to eradicate Maduro’s regime, secure human rights for all, and provide food and good water quality to its citizens. There is hope as Unicef, Chamos Charity, and more non-profit organizations are working every day with the citizens of Venezuela to help improve their way of life.

Paula Gibson

Photo: Flickr

The poor water quality in Venezuela has caused health concerns throughout the country.

Venezuela’s water has, in recent years, been very poor quality, even coming out of faucets with a yellow color, reports Ana Carvajal, a worker at the Universitario Hospital in Caracas specializing in infectious diseases. Venezuelans are seeing a spike in a variety of illnesses, especially diarrhea. The lack of clean water is also bringing about skin issues such as scabies and folliculitis. Stomach illnesses have also spread due to the water quality.

Beyond water pollution, the country is also facing a severe water shortage. The 2016 drought brought on by El Niño put major limits on water consumption, resulting in today’s current use of water trucks. However, as water official Tatiana Noguera accounts, these trucks are often robbed by gangs.

Unfortunately, it comes with little surprise that Venezuelans must resort to desperate measures in order to maintain water. Residents often purify water with vinegar, and carefully ‘recycle’ it from the kitchen to toilet. Some collect and recycle rainwater, as well.

Other consequences come in the form of limited electricity. Because 65 percent of Venezuela’s electricity relies on the Guri Dam, which has maintained low water levels, the country has undergone severe power shortages. Even Venezuela’s time zone has been altered in order to increase the amount of sunlight during the day by an extra 30 minutes.

Just like his predecessor Hugo Chavez, President Nicolas Maduro has not taken substantive action in order to counter this water pollution or shortage. Taxi driver Luis Felipe Pedroso comments on the lack of water: “On the days when it comes, it’s only for a few hours and it’s very dirty. This is unbelievable. The government hasn’t taken any measures to solve these problems.”

If the poor water quality in Venezuela is not addressed soon, diseases are likely to spread further. Given citizens’ limited access to medicine, this has seriously negative implications, especially considering the issue is one that is easily preventable. Therefore, the country’s leaders must take immediate action in order to secure the health of their citizens.

Gigi DeLorenzo

Photo: Flickr