eporting procedures for the key service indicators it is not possible to make valid comparisons and it is also difficult to identify key problems and set priorities. However, some project reports and institutional data show that many systems provide neither the continuity nor the quality that is needed. In fact, in the great majority of small communities disinfection is not practised at all, and Reiff (1988) has indicated that around 70% of all disinfection units in Latin America are not working properly. In Peru, it was found that 100% of small WS included in a experimental water surveillance study failed to meet basic drinking water quality criteria (Lloyd & Helmer, 1991). In Ecuador more than 75% of their drinking water supply depends on surface water (Foster et al, 1987). Problems of continuity, quantity or quality were identified in the majority of WS systems included in participatory evaluations in Ecuador (Visscher et al., 1996) and Bolivia (Quiroga et al., 1997). Besides, most of these reports show that the organisations responsible for providing the WS&S services do not manage to cover even the cost of operation and maintenance. This situation usually leads to inadequate functioning and eventually to abandoning of the infrastructure, representing a considerable loss of investment and high political and socioeconomic cost. In January 1991, beginning in Peru, epidemic cholera invaded the Americas for the first time in the 20 th century, resulting in 391,219 cases with 4,002 deaths by the end of the year. In 1992, 353,811 cases with 2,396 deaths were reported in 19 countries. In 1993 the total number of registered cases declined to 206,259 (Traverso, 1996). However, in Colombia the number of cases were presenting a tendency to increase, with 1,002 in the year 1994, 1,783 in the year 1995, and 2,453 in the first half of the year 1996 (OPS/PAHO, 1997). It was noted by the World Health Organisation that: “The [epidemic] outbreaks of cholera [throughout] the countries of Central and South America are an ample reminder of how quickly the adverse health impacts of unsatisfactory water supply and basic sanitation appear and accelerate. The question is not only one of providing facilities, although it is of prime concern in the first instance, but also of sustaining them through adequate provision for operation and maintenance of systems, and ensuring their proper utilisation through adequate health and hygiene education” (WHO, 1996). 1.1 An Overview of the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector in Colombia In Colombia, between 1975 and 1993, US$ 2.8 billion was invested in WS&S sector. Coverage values increased 25% for both piped connections (51 to 76%) and sewerage systems (38 to 63%). These values only include “conventional” solutions. In fact, by 1993 the access to sanitation should be 74%, including 8% access to septic tanks and 3% access to latrines. The main advances started in the 1990s with the sector receiving an average investment of 0.5% of the GNP of the country (the GNP per capita in 1995 was 1910 US$ for Colombia and 3320 US$ for Latin America). During the decade of the 1980s the Latin American countries invested on average 0.2% of their GNP (DNP, 1995; OPS/PAHO, 1997; WB, 1997). Nevertheless, by 1994, 8.6 million Colombians still did not have access to piped water supplies and 9.3million lacked access to sanitation. Following the international pattern, the situation was worst in the smaller cities and the rural areas as illustrated in table 1.2. 2
Table 1.2 Access to WS&S in Colombia in 1985 and 1993 (DNP, 1995; Ministerio de Salud, 1998a; DANE, 1993). Year 1985 1993 Type of Settlement Population Access (%) Population Access (%) (Millions) Water Sewerage (Millions) Water Sewerage 4 Major cities 8.0 89 82 10.3 88 84 Capitals and cities > 10 5 5.5 71 63 7.5 88 78 Other urban areas 6.2 82 63 8.8 84 69 Rural areas 10.4 12 2.4 10.8 44 19 TOTAL 30.1 58 47 37.4 76 63 1 1. The total access to sanitation was 74%: sewerage 64%; septic tanks 8%; latrines 3% Now this is especially relevant because of the decentralisation process in the WS&S sector. By 1993 there were 3.3 million people in the urban part of 860 municipalities in Colombia, which had less than 12,500 people in their urban area (table 1.3). The problems in the main cities were concentrated in their urban-fringe areas where the “conventional” , centralised, type of technologies are not viable technically and economically. In Bogota alone it is estimated that 0.6 million people do not have access to water supply and one million to sanitation (Marín, 1995). Furthermore like in the other Andean countries, part of the population already covered are facing problems due to the poor performance of the systems. Table 1.3 Distribution of Colombian municipalities by population ranges (DANE, 1993) Ranges based on the number of inhabitants Number of municipalities in each range % Urban population in each range < 2,500 419 40 558,110 [2,501 – 5,000) 226 21 881,672 [5,001 – 12,500) 215 20 1’865,606 [12,501 – 30,000) 103 10 2’097,759 [30,001 – 100,000) 62 6 1’140,888 [100,001 – 500,000] 27 2 6’728,248 > 500,001 5 1 11’006,250 TOTAL 1,057 100% 24’278,533 In 1993 the total (urban plus rural) population of Colombia was 37’448,000 In an evaluation of 49 projects financed by FINDETER and other national agencies, problems of sustainability were identified (FINDETER, 1996; Restrepo et al, 1998). These problems were related to different factors throughout the whole cycle of the projects, such as poor technology selection or specification, managerial or technological limitations at local level to operate the systems or insufficient support from the national or departmental agencies. Because of its geography and topography, Colombia has an annual average rainfall of 3,000 mm, with 88% of the territory presenting values higher than 2,000 mm. These values are above the average of 1600 mm/year for South America, and the global average of 900 mm/year (Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, 1996). As shown in table 1.4, the Temperate Zone, between 1,000 and 3,000 m above sea level (masl), represents 35% of the surface of the country, with 34% of the water offer, and supporting 66% of the population. Besides, 38% of the agriculture and the livestock farming and significant part of the factoring also take place in this zone. By the year 2016, if the present pattern of increasing demand and reducing offer 3
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