Yesterday (Sunday) saw the main road west out of the city (part of the old Pan-American Highway, which is actually heading north…it’s all to do with the odd shape of Panama) closed for 10 hours by residents of an area on the other side of the Canal who, not unreasonably, were complaining about the lack or shortage of drinking water. This might seem odd in a country that – (a) has a 9-month rainy season and an average of up to 8 feet or more of rain a year – nearly 8½ feet last year; and (b) depends of fresh water for its most obvious and valuable asset, the Canal. However, an official explained that the population served by the 2 water treatment plants involved had doubled and that has led to part of the collapse of the service. A new plant was under construction.
However, given that the new Metro Line 3 is to serve the area affected, and this will likely lead to even more people living there, I guess this is a problem for the long-term as well.
It just seems a bit ironic that, when one of the most frequent risks you face in Panama is of flooding or its effects (such as landslides), there might in fact be a water shortage.
3 APRIL 2023