Drought prompts water rationing; Earthquake felt in parts of Cuenca; Local school reopens to in-person classes; Two die in violent El Centro cycle collision

Nov 16, 2020 | 2 comments

The public company that provides drinking water to Cuenca announced Saturday that it has instituted scheduled water cut-offs in Ricaurte and Sayausí as a result of ongoing drought conditions. Director of the company’s drinking water division, Fabián Cazar, said further cuts could be required if there is no rainfall in the coming days.

Cuenca’s Rio Tomebamba is flowing at less than 5% of capacity, affecting the city’s water supply.

Cazar said that flow levels in the Tomebamba, Yanuncay and Tarqui rivers have dropped to near-historic lows since the beginning of November. “We depend on the rivers to supply our potable water processing facilities and reduced flow means we are not able to meet residential demand,” he said. “If flow levels do not increase soon we will be forced to take additional rationing measures.”

He added that the Tixán Water Treatment Plant, which supplies 60 percent of the city’s drinking water, is operating normally. The plant is supplied by the Machángara River, which is primarily spring-fed.

Cazar is appealing to residents to reduce water consumption. “Household water usage in Cuenca is the highest in the country and we urge residents to conserve the resource,” he says. “Each city resident consumes 250 liters of water a day while the United Nations recommends usage of 100 liters a day.”

Earthquake felt in Cuenca
A 4.2 magnitude earthquake was felt in parts of Cañar and Azuay provinces Sunday afternoon but no damage was reported. The quake occurred just before 6 p.m. near Bucay, on the Guayas and Cañar border. Some residents of Cuenca, especially those living in high-rise buildings, reported several seconds of shaking.

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Cuenca school is among those resuming in-person classes
The national Emergency Operations Committee has authorized the resumption of in-person classes in 79 schools in Ecuador. The pilot project affects 3,568 students at 67 public and 12 private schools. Minister of Education, Monserrat Creamer, said that biosecurity plans have been approved at the schools to ensure the health of students and teachers. “We understand the importance of returning to the face-to-face educational experience as soon as possible and this is the first step in the process,” he said. “Other schools will soon be added to the pilot project.”

Among the schools participating in the project is the private Colegio Alemán Stiehle in Cuenca.

The body of motorcyclist lies on the sidewalk at the intersection of Lamar and Abraham Sarmiento Sunday night following the fatal collision.

Two dead in El Centro bicycle-motorcycle collision
Two men died late Sunday afternoon in a violent crash between a bicycle and motorcycle at the intersection of Mariscal Lamar and Abraham Sarmiento in the historic district. Paramedics say the motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene while the cyclist was taken by ambulance to the Social Security hospital where he later died. According to police, one of the victims ignored the traffic signal and witnesses to the accident are being sought.

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