530 URBAN WATER CHALLENGES IN THE AMERICAS

530 URBAN WATER CHALLENGES IN THE AMERICAS

Figure 3. Blocks in the city of Salto in 1892 (Agrim. T. Herrán). This shows the lack of knowledge about the natural course of the Sauzal

3. Drinking water supply in

Stream in the north of the city

urban areas

A total of 98% of the population in Uruguay enjoys access to drinking water, with an average consumption of 130 liters/household/day (see: www. ose.gub.uy). With an almost universal supply of potable water to urban centers, the challenge lies in providing this service to small nuclei of rural dwellings. In order to achieve the Millennium Development Objectives, the OSE (the State Sanitation Company) plans to provide drinking water, collectively and individually, for an additional 28,000 inhabitants in rural townships across the whole country by 2015 (see: www.ose.gub.uy).

3.1 Drinking water coverage at the urban level

Source: L. Vlaeminck

Drinking water coverage in urban areas in Uruguay is among the highest on the continent (Rojas, 2014) who used the main indicator as the availability of drinking water delivered to households by

consolidated, as happens in many medium-sized pipes. Over the past few years, Uruguay (like other Uruguayan cities, as another “poor” periphery where

countries) has used other indicators that fail to the poorest families settled on the flood plains. 3 distinguish between water being provided inside or

The crisis experienced by the country in the outside a home and which use the term “improved early 1960’s (after several decades of growth) sources.” Having a service with improved sources spawned new forms of territorial settlement, with

means that: 1) the source of the water is a general irregular urban growth in sectors without services,

drinking water supply network or ii) a protected occupying the riverbanks and flood plains of urban

emerging well.

water courses. Public investment dropped sharply, It is important to note that the high coverage leading to problems that highlighted the inadequacy

rate of this service in the country is historical. In of the existing infrastructure, difficulty in building

1996, 83% of the urban population had access to new public works and the failure to incorporate

drinking water through a public network connected water sources into the design of integrated urban

to their homes. Currently, according to data from solutions.

the 2011 Census, 96% of the urban population are In the past decade, economic stability in connected to a general supply network and 99.4% Uruguay has achieved progress in services and have access to potable water through an improved infrastructure in cities. New approaches to urban

source inside or outside their dwelling. water management have also gradually been adopted.

3.2 Drinking water service provision through networks

Potable water supplied through a network to a

3. Although the Law of Population Centers (Nº 10,723, 1946) residential

permanent population is mainly provided by the

areas not be constructed in flood areas and that private constructors provide adequate services for effective urbanization, the inability to

OSE (the State Sanitation Company) (with over

ensure compliance with this law has resulted in extended cities that

99.5% of the population being served by network).

lack services.

The service is provided in accordance with the


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