LA PAZ – The drought-related water shortages that led to the imposition of rationing here a year ago are at an end, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Tuesday.
“We have water now. The rationing in the city of La Paz is over,” he said during the inauguration of an aqueduct that will carry water to Lake Estrellani, which serves roughly 300,000 residents.
While the drought is still causing “very serious problems” in rural areas of eastern Bolivia, the lessons learned from the experience of La Paz enabled authorities to upgrade the provision of water in other cities and eliminate the need for rationing, the president said.
Morales said his government considers water to be a fundamental right, boasting that Bolivia’s approach toward preventing water privatization is now being exported to “the whole world.”
The aqueduct, which cost $14 million, is part of a $67 million plan to prevent a recurrence of the crisis that forced the imposition of rationing in La Paz and the much larger neighboring city of El Alto.
Besides investing money, the government fired the top executives of state-owned water company EPSAS and officials responsible for utilities regulation, while the then-water minister, Alexandra Moreira, resigned in January 2017.