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Months After Hurricane Maria: Droughts and Water Shortages

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

Puerto Rico has not recovered from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Life is far from getting back to normal, and the impacts of the hurricane still linger. Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans are currently experiencing water shortages. Governor Ricardo Rossello said, “Seven municipalities in the island’s northwest region could be without water for up to 24 hours at a time.” In fact, some communities are experiencing 48-72 hours without drinking water.

· Federal officials said 76% of Puerto Rico is experiencing abnormally dry conditions. 8% is in a moderate drought.

· 220,000 people are feeling the effects of a drought.

. Lack of drinking water is one issue among many that Puerto Ricans face on a daily basis.

What’s Causing the Water Shortage?

The Guajataca Reservoir is a large local provider of drinking water. It was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The Army Corp of Engineers has drained the lake to make water storage improvements. The Reservoir’s completion date isn’t until early May. This, compounded with the drought, has caused major water shortages. Our Disaster Project Coordinator, Luis Beniquez, is only getting water every other day.

Guajataca Reservoir before Hurricane Maria

As of February 20th, 2019 the towns of Aguada, Aguadilla, Camuy, Isabela, Moca, Quebradillas and the Puntas de Rincon neighborhood will be supplied with water rationing from the dam.

· A rationing plan that includes service interruptions has been implemented.

· In coordination with the mayors of various municipalities, 220,000 people will receive water rations.

· Some areas will alternate rationings. These areas will have suspended water service for 24 hours at a time.