The Cuenca city utilities department says that water rationing could be ordered if the current dry spell continues into December.
“Although current conditions do not compare to the drought of 2010, they are putting a strain on water resources in the Cuenca area,” says Ivan Palacios, manager of the city’s utility company, ETAPA. “The flow of water from the Cajas Mountains watershed has been reduced. This can be seen in the rivers and means less water is coming into our reservoirs.”
According to Palacios, dry conditions and low humidity are responsible for several record high and low temperatures over the past week. On Tuesday, the morning low dropped to 0C, or 32F, setting a record for the date. Wednesday’s high of 29C, or 84, set an all-time high temperature. “We are seeing very strange weather as a result of the drought,” he said.
“We are not yet prepared to predict water restrictions but we will have no recourse if the drought continues,” Palacios said.
The national weather service says the long-term forecast is for more of the same, although it says chances for rain are slowly improving.
The record-setting 2010 drought not only brought water rationing but nationwide rolling electric black-outs due to the country’s reliance on hydro generation. In Cuenca, street lights were turned off at night, there were no Christmas lights, and use of fireworks was prohibited.