Water outage season with a twist


Although we have had a relatively wet dry season…

by Eric Jackson

Lots of water outages in late March? That has been common enough over the years. It’s the tail end of dry season, reservoirs are low and so are streams and in some cases wells from which water is drawn for the nation’s aqueducts. This, however, is a La Niña season, with drought that started a bit later than usual, and some unseasonable showers now and then. If the IDAAN water and sewer utility, and local aqueduct systems, warn of water outages it’s mostly not the usual natural causes. Yet they keep coming:

  • In the Panama Oeste community of Cermeño, the water went out because maleantes stole the cables that powered the local water system’s pumps.
  • In some of the banana plantation areas of mainland Bocas del Toro, water was out or at low pressure for more traditional reasons — the stream that fed the Guabito water plant’s intake ducts was running low.
  • In Puerto Armuelles they water was out because the electricity for the San Bartolo water plant was out. It was planned and previously announced repairs on the electrical grid causing the problem there.
  • There will be water shortages in parts of La Chorrera on Monday the 27th of March, due to scheduled maintenance at the Jaime Diaz Quintero water plant.
  • There will be a water outages during the day on Tuesday the 28th of March in parts of Arraijan, as IDAAN plans some maintenance work on major water mains.
  • The water treatment plant in Penonome was out on March 25, due to one of the frequent power outages that Cocle province has been experiencing. That, along with all of the other outages, elicited protests from local business groups.

And so it goes. The plan is to get some preventive maintenance done before systems go out during Holy week, which would be considered more serious annoyance than usual. 


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