Cuenca’s water quality is excellent but how do we keep it that way? Protecting the Cajas watershed; Robberies of vehicle accessories on the increase

Mar 23, 2023 | 8 comments

Miércoles, 22/3/2023

Hola, Todos –

Titular –

¿Y si un día nos faltara? (And what if one day we were to miss it?) – Almost the entire issue is about water. I’lll show the headline for each story with a short summary, and if you’re interested, you can read it for yourself. <This information is important for you if you value being able to drink water out of the faucet. Not everyone in the world, including in the US, is so priviledged.>

Especial –

Water quality in the higher elevations of the Cajas Mountains is pristine was it is affected by human activity as it flows downhill.

Calidad, una condición vital en los ríos (Quality, a vital condition in rivers) – The Cajas is the major supplier of water to Cuenca. It contains 3 of the watersheds, the Yanuncay, Tomebamba, and Machángara Rivers, that need care to assure good water production. In the páramo, the water is pristine and of excellent quality. As it passes into the Andean forest, the quality drops to very good and is sufficient for potable water treatment. In the peri-urban and urban areas, the water is good and medium. The main causes of river pollution are agricultural chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) and other human actions such as tourism. The río Tarqui is the most badly affected due to ranching, but it is not part of the city water supply.

S.O.S por cuencas hídricas (S.O.S. for river watersheds) – ETAPA (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones, Agua Potable y Alcantarillado – Telecommunications, Water and Sewage Company) Protection of the zones for water recharge is a high priority for ETAPA which manages the Cajas National Park. It and community water systems have a primary objective of guaranteeing the quality and quantity of water coming into their treatment plants. To achieve this, ETAPA has bought property rich in water sources which are guarded by rangers to avoid human action that could contaminate the water. ETAPA also works with local governments and community organizations to care for the watersheds. It provides technical assistance in agriculture and ranching to landowners, and goes to schools to teach kids about environmental protection. <The article has a good map of the watersheds, their areas, and altitudes.>

Article continues below graphic.

Potabilización con calidad garantizada (Quality-assured drinking water treatment) – For a long time, Cuencanos have known that they can take water directly from the faucet and drink refreshing, good tasting water. But they don’t know what backs up this faith in good water. ETAPA has to conform to at least 300 perameters which starts at the water source. There are 3 large purifications plants – El Cebollar, Sustag, y Tixán which is the largest and supplies 350,000 homes. If it stopped functioning, in only 3 hours, 60% of the population would be left without water. Each plant follows the same process. Once the water is taken in, aluminum sulfate is added to eliminate turbidity and color. It then goes through a flocculation process in which sediments settle in clumps, and after other steps, the water is filtered. Last, the water is mixed with chlorine. <Ever wondered why Cuencanos are generally mellow? Well the secret last step is that coca leaves are steeped in the chlorine before it’s added to the water. And I’ll sell you the Centenario Bridge with toll rights for just $3 million.> The water is tested through the whole process and ETAPA has INEN 1108, ISO 9001, and INEN 17000 certifications.

La industria apuesta por preservar el líquido vital (Industry is committed to preserving the vital liquid) – The FAO said that on a global average, 10% of water goes to human consumption, 70% for agriculture and ranching, and 20% for industry. Unesco predicts that industrial water use will increase by 400% in 2050. Mercantil Tosi and Continental Tire Andina are two industries that are working to reducing their water consumption.

Nueve “tips” para ahorrar y reusar (Nine “tips” to save and reuse) –
1. Turn off the water when soaping your hands or body in the shower and when brushing your teeth.
2. Keep activities involving water to shorter periods of time.
3. If you run water until it gets hot, save that water for other uses.
4. Make sure you turn faucets off completely and that they aren’t leaking.
5. Optimize the use of appliances – run full loads. You can reuse wash water for washing floors and cars.
6. Use water saving faucets and fixtures.
7. Collect rain water, especially if you can connect it to a reserve tank.
8. Recycle water used to wash or boil food to water plants.
9. Avoid using potable water to wash your vehicle. <If you have a big enough family, you could all spit on the car until its clean.>

Sucesos –

Delinquentes ingresan en garajes para robar accesorios de carros (Criminals break into garages to steal car accessories) – Robberies of vehicle accessories are getting more common with recent cases involving robbers breaking into house garages. Early yesterday morning, a citizen heard noise in his patio which has metal fencing. He saw a motorcycle parked outside and someone under the hood of his Gran Vitara SZ. When he yelled, they grabbed car parts and fled on the motorcycle. His other car, a Chevy Spark, was missing the dashboard, accessories, and various motor parts. The owner guessed the robbers climbed the front fence and then broke the locks so they could get out more quickly.

This ws similar to a burglary early Friday morning when robbers dismantled a car inside a garage at calles García Moreno y Juan José Flores. There they got through an electric fence, an alarm, and a video camera. <I can understand why a lot of my neighbors have put solid panels behind the metal gates so no one can see into the garage. Although if I had a Rottweiler; I’d leave the panels off so they could see that dog and those teeth.>

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –


Editor’s note: Jeanne’s Periodico is a translated digest of news from the Cuenca daily newspaper El Mercurio. If details, such as event dates and times, do not appear in the translation, they did not appear in the newspaper (please don’t ask her for them). The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.


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