After Bengaluru, now Bogota? High in the Andes, Colombia’s capital begins water rationing

City facing the cumulative impacts of El Nino climate phenomenon, says Colombian environment minister

By Rajat Ghai
Published: Friday 12 April 2024
An aerial shot of Bogota. Photo: iStock

Bogota, one of the highest capital cities in the world located on a plateau in the Andes known as the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, started water rationing on April 11, 2024 due to low levels of water in its reservoirs.

“Starting this Thursday, April 11, 2024, Bogotá and the municipalities that are supplied by the Bogotá Aqueduct and Sewerage Company (EAAB) will have alternating suspensions or rationing of drinking water due to the low level of the reservoirs,” the website of the City of Bogota stated.

It added that the first restriction will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 11, with the shift on day one, which corresponds to neighbourhoods in 10 locations in the northeast and centre of the city.

Each shift will last 24 hours. In some sectors though, the normalisation of the service may take a few additional hours and present changes in the colour of the water without affecting its potability.

On April 11, the water rationing was carried out in:

1. Antonio Nariño (23 neighbourhoods)

2. Barrios Unidos (53)

3. Chapinero (18)

4. Los Mártires (22)

5. Puente Aranda (69)

6. Rafael Uribe Uribe (28)

7. Santa Fe (1)

8. Teusaquillo (52)

9. Tunjuelito (4)

10. Usaquén (16)

“The current situation of water rationing in Bogota and the region shows us the importance of prioritising the land arrangement around it and the need to adapt to a new climate reality,” Susana Muhamad, Colombia’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development said in a statement on her Facebook Page.

A meeting chaired by Colombian Environment Minister Susana Muhamad on the crisis in Bogota. Photo: @infopresidencia / XA meeting chaired by Colombian Environment Minister Susana Muhamad (fifth from left) on the crisis in Bogota. Photo: @infopresidencia / X

In another message a few days ago, she said the government has agreed on a permanent follow-up plan, as well as technical and ecosystem solutions that are required.

Read DTE Coverage: Bengaluru Water Crisis 2024

The government will, among other things, monitor the water supply system, infrastructure, water demand and new climate reality facing Bogota and the region. It will also take stock of the territorial planning of the Bogota Savannah, the high montane grassland ecosystem in the Altiplano Cundiboyacense where the Colombian capital is situated.

According to Muhamad, rains in March were below expected and the end of El Nino, the warm phase of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, is predicted possibly by the end of April.

“Although we expect increased rainfall, the next three weeks are key to saving water and energy, and securing supply. We do not foresee power rationing. Right now, we are facing the cumulative impacts of this phenomenon (El Nino), which are reflected in the availability of potable water and in our energy system, so the call of vital importance is to save water and energy,” she added.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.