Long recognized for having the best drinking water in Ecuador, a new government report shows that Cuenca does the best job of taking care of its water supply. The government reports that Cuenca has the country’s lowest rate of water waste and theft.
The country’s national office of water resources, part of the environmental ministry, is establishing nationwide rules to monitor per household water use.
Cuenca has a water waste and theft rate of 29%, followed by Quito at 33%, and Ibarra at 35%. The majority of cities in Ecuador report waste and theft at 50% and more, and the water resources office says it wants to see the number under 30% nationally.
The water office is also developing rules that would charge households that use what is consider more than a reasonable amount of water, based on local criteria, a penalty for excessive use.
Cuenca’s water has been rated the best in Ecuador for the last five years. It has also been recognized as one of the best in South America in tests conducted by several international organizations in recent years. The city’s watershed is the eastern slope of the Cajas Mountains National Park, an area recognized by UNESCO for its natural beauty and level of preservation.
In Cuenca, the water system is maintained by the municipal utility authority, ETAPA, which services about 93% of the municipality’s estimated 575,000 residents, in 130,000 households.
ETAPA’s staff includes 29 technicians who monitor leakage and theft 24-hours a day. ETAPA says that, on average, 35 leaks and illegal connections are detected and corrected each month.
Ecuador’s environmental ministry says the quality and reliability of the country’s water supply has improved dramatically over the past decade, although the improvement has lagged in several regions, particularly the coast.