Crops and water reserves endangered by long drought in Uruguay | news today
Several people next to the Canelón Grande dam, on March 12, 2023 in the department of Canelones (Uruguay).
Photo: EFE/Gastón Britos – Gastón Britos
Concern is growing day by day in Uruguay due to a strong drought that destroys crops and dries up water reserves destined for cities, AFP journalists confirmed.
The Canelón Grande reservoir, located some 61 km north of Montevideo in the department of Canelones, has dried up to the point where cracks can be seen in the land that was once covered by water.
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This reservoir was originally intended for irrigation and was also used to supply one of the main drinking water distribution infrastructures in the country, known as Aguas Corrientes, which serves the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area.
Uruguay, a country of almost 3.5 million inhabitants, has more than half of its population concentrated in that urban and suburban area.
The deputy general secretary of the state water agency, OSE, Juan Martín Jorge, explained to AFP that in terms of drinking water the country is going through “a critical situation, but under control”, thanks to the use of alternative reservoirs and tanker trucks that solve the shortage throughout the country.
Uruguay even has the possibility of using the water from the Río de la Plata and making it drinkable. “The water cut is not planned,” Jorge emphasized.
In any case, since the beginning of February, the government issued a ban on the use of drinking water for non-priority purposes such as watering ornamental gardens or washing vehicles.
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In the agricultural sector the situation is extremely serious. It is “the greatest loss of agriculture and the national economy in the last 30 years,” said the Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Fernando Mattos, quoted Monday by the newspaper El Observador.
In Uruguay, an agricultural country par excellence, many crops that are usually used to obtain grains have failed and are being grazed (eaten) by cattle or, in the best of cases, kept in silos as food for a winter that is approaching. announces difficult due to the scarcity of pastures.
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