Last Sunday, 7 sectors in Greater Santo Domingo were left without water after a drilling machine in Los Rios broke a key distribution line of the Valdesia Santo Domingo Aqueduct.
Felipe Subervi, the general director of the Santo Domingo Aqueduct and Sewage Corporation (CAASD), stated that this line “conducts approximately 70 million gallons [of water] per day” to both citizens and tourists of Santo Domingo alike.
The CAASD has since obtained a permit to filter sewage through an additional pipe in the region, but repairs to the damaged aqueduct are still underway. Teams of engineers and construction workers have been deployed to the site and are working continuously to ensure the distribution of water throughout the region.
The 7 sectors that are the most affected by this disruption in Greater Santo Domingo are: Quisqueya expansion, The Million, Beautiful View, Renaissance, South Lookout and The Chiefdoms.
Water is also limited in Las Praderas, Saint Geronimo, The Rosmil, Restorers, Manganagua, and everywhere north of Independencia Avenue. As of May 10th, drinking water in the Palms of Herrera neighbourhood and Enriquillo neighbourhood is also thought to be limited.
Finally, the districts of Arroyo Hondo, Deep Creek II, Christ the King, The Augustine, Hills of Arroyo Hondo, Los Rios and neighbourhood La 800ta also face drinking water restrictions as repairs continue.
Whilst the shortages are expected to affect civilian housing more than tourist accommodation, various hotels, hostels and resorts in Santo Domingo are located in the above sectors, particularly the Quisqueya expansion and The Million. Tourists in the regions affected should check their bookings for compensation or should change their accommodation to elsewhere in the Dominican Republic. The neighbouring regions of Las Calderas and Azua are currently not affected by water shortages, making them a viable option for alternate lodging.
The water shortages have also been exacerbated by the poor weather in the Dominican Republic, as reported last week. The National Meteorological Office of the Dominican Republic predicted moderate to heavy downpours, with a high chance of thunderstorms and wind.
Whilst this weather is typical on the island during April and May, it has caused damage to households, hotels and resorts and has displaced several hundred people due to the dangers of electrical wires being exposed.
As a result of the poor weather, the National Institute of Drinking Water and Sewage in the country also revealed that 23 aqueducts had also been broken.
This is not the first time this year that the Dominican Republic has faced water shortages due to broken aqueducts: last month, the Dominican Republic Emergency Operations Center placed 13 provinces under yellow alert and 8 provinces under green alert after heavy rains were forecasted across the country. This resulted in the damage of 15 essential aqueducts which severely limited access to clean drinking water and sewage removal systems.
Aqueducts and other crucial infrastructure are also damaged frequently by hurricanes, cyclones and tropical storms on the island. In 2020, hurricanes Isaias and Laura caused significant damage to electrical lines, houses and roads as well as aqueducts. The country is no stranger to water shortages, especially in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
In 2020, Dominican president Luis Abinader announced that the government would invest USD $8850 million over the next 15 years to improve water infrastructure and the distribution of sewage networks and drinking water across the nation. This includes the modernisation of the country’s current aqueducts, many of which need significant repairs as they are not strong enough to withstand the country’s various natural disasters. This will not only improve the experience for tourists visiting the country but will also enrich the lives of Dominicans.
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