Deficit in sanitation: A priority issue in Argentina

Every year, UNESCO establishes a theme for reflection to celebrate World Water Day. In 2017, the proposal is “wastewater” which is to emphasize its reduction and reuse, as a potentially affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

As part of an event organised by the Undersecretariat of Water Resources of the Nation to present the United Nations World Report on the Development of Water Resources, entitled “Wastewater: the untapped resource”, Victor Pochat-President Of the Argentine Institute of Water Resources  was interviewed by Arg Cap-Net about this topic.

Pending Issues according to Pochat, Argentina should not only reflect on the issue of wastewater, but also address other issues related to water and sanitation that are key to the country’s development.

“On the other hand, we are still facing large deficit in the provision of drinking water for the population and an even greater issue which is the lack of sanitation. This issue is a priority and is related to the need in wastewater treatment, so that they do not reach and contaminate water courses and bodies, with the risk of not being able to reuse them,”said the expert.

He then referred to extreme phenomena. “We are very concerned about the great floods that have affected us lately, as happened in Comodoro Rivadavia. But we also have to think about droughts and prepare to face both problems. Argentina is mostly an arid and semi-arid country where water scarcity is permanent. Even in the wet pampas we suffer extremes droughts that affect the production”.

Finally, he mentioned the risk of overexploitation of aquifers for irrigation. “It is a relevant issue, not only in western Argentina, which traditionally supplies irrigation for production, but also in the humid and sub-humid zone where complementary irrigation is becoming increasingly important as a factor to increase production. This situation usually entails the unplanned extraction of groundwater, which is a very serious problem and a pending issue, which consists of knowing and monitoring aquifers to avoid problems of overexploitation, “he said.

The Spanish version of this interview could be found at the following link.