Crisis in Venezuela | Venezuelans’ odyssey for water supply

A Venezuela in perennial crisis. Three years of hyperinflation, seven of recession and more than a decade of political crisis. To this is added the deficit of basic services. Venezuelans can go days without electricity and even months without water, especially those who live outside the capital.

“All our lives we have had a water deficiency and when I tell you a deficiency I talk to you for up to a month, two months, three months without water,” said Julio César Blanco. A 46-year-old social worker who lives in the popular neighborhood of El Buracal, located in the Capital District.

“It is traumatic here, first because of the number of people we are, this thing that you see full now does not last between 24 and 72 hours, we are talking about 3 days (…) For us it is horrible, here men and children have to go with our wheelbarrows and with our pimpinas (drums) up and go to look for the water in Avila (National Park) “.

Drilling of private wells like this one has increased exponentially in recent years in Caracas, which has a huge reservoir of water under the city. But a drilling 90 meters deep to the aquifer can cost about 20,000 dollars, in a country where the minimum wage is worth approximately 2 dollars (1.64 euros). In addition, a state permit is necessary to carry out these types of activities in public spaces, which sometimes leads to delays and even bribes for the benefit of the authorities.

“We have reached a level where water, a basic service, is not reaching it and it is getting more and more uphill and people know that in the medium term, that is going to get worse, it is not that it is going to improve, then those who can have made the decision to build their well to have a vital service such as water, “explained engineer Alfredo Araya.

Some communities and neighborhood councils have opted for the construction of their private wells, but the economic crisis weighs too heavily on the pockets of Venezuelans and not all can commit to such investment.

It happened in Dalila Escalona’s building, who put $ 400 of her savings into a collection for a well in the building where she lives in the wealthy Caracas neighborhood of Los Palos Grandes.

“We are making a great sacrifice to achieve this well, for that reason the collection has not been easy, that although we are all committed, not all of us have the possibility of paying it,” lamented Escalona.

According to the Observatory of Public Services of Venezuela (OVSP), a private entity, almost nine out of ten Venezuelans suffer interruptions in the water supply. This is largely due to the abandonment of the pumping stations that need public funds for their maintenance.

20 years ago, Caracas received 20,000 liters of water per second and today it receives 8,000 less.