Nov 2, 2009 2 Comments ›› Erik Wong
Caracas (AFP) – Residents of the Venezuelan capital face cuts in water service for as much as 48 hours per week, after the government imposed rationing to stem a 25 percent shortfall in the city’s supply, officials said Monday.
Officials said cuts in water service were to be staggered throughout Caracas through the duration of the current dry season, which is not expected to end until May 2010.
Weather forecasters blame the “El Nino” weather phenomenon, saying the periodic weather system has markedly reduced rainfall and created drought conditions.
Others blame the shortage on poor government management of the country’s water resources, while President Hugo Chavez faulted the excesses of capitalism.
“What will the rich fill their swimming pools with?” the country’s leftist leader asked recently.
“With the water that is denied inhabitants in the poor neighborhoods,” he said, blaming the lack of sufficient water on “capitalism — a lack of feeling, a lack of humanity.”
The government recently created a ministry of electricity to help conserve the use of power, which also is in short supply.
Officials also urged the public to employ better conservation practices, like shorter showers and the use of less water when brushing teeth.