Syndicate content

Spotlight on LAC

Towards a water security assessment in Latin America and Caribbean

Victor Vazquez Alvarez's picture

Co-author: Héctor Alexander Serrano, Water Resources Specialist, World Bank Water Global Practice 

Also available in Español 

Water Security
is the new buzzword in the water sector… but what does it mean, really? And how is it applied to real life?
 
In a world of rapid changes, unequal water resources, polluted water bodies, growing demands, and increasing climate variability and climate change, our relationship with water is quickly shifting. For countries and governments, the term national water security means having adequate water, both in quantity and quality, to meet all demands of the population, the productive sectors and the environment, but also dealing well with extremes, and overall managing the resource adequately and efficiently.
 
In Latin America, home for 650 million people, those changes are not an exception, and the term “Water Security” is becoming more and more relevant. In the most urbanized continent of the developing world, cities grow fast, vulnerability is latent in vast and fragile large peri-urban areas, and enhanced climate phenomena put high stress on water resources management, delivering of water services and means of production. About 227 million people still do not have access to safely managed water supply and more than 500 million do not have access to safely managed sanitation systems. In the Caribbean region, 26 million people fall into poverty each year because of natural disasters. Urban rivers and waterways in the region are among the most polluted in the world, since 70 percent of the wastewater discharged in the region receives no treatment.


Can we regulate small and rural water supply and sanitation operators in Latin America?

Malva Baskovich's picture
The recent reforms in the water supply and sanitation (WSS) legal framework in Peru has given the National Superintendence of Water Supply and Sanitation Services of Peru (SUNASS) a new role in the regulation and supervision of service providers in small towns and rural communities, expanding its regulatory action beyond the urban area scope. Therefore, SUNASS needs to develop a regulatory framework and tools to effectively supervise around 28,000 small and rural operators, which provide service to 21% of the Peruvian population.
 
Delegates from SUNASS, with the support of the World Bank, visited different WSS sector entities in Colombia.


To achieve this goal, SUNASS, with the support of the World Bank, visited different WSS sector entities in Colombia which are responsible for the regulation, supervision and issuing policies regarding rural service provision. The objective of this South-South knowledge exchange was to gain valuable information from the Colombian counterparts about the challenges, lessons learned, and useful mechanisms for a successful reform process.