Venezuela’s Hidrobolivar Aims for 100 Percent Drinking Water Coverage
11 May 2012 - 11:31 by OOSKAnews Correspondent
CARACAS, Venezuela — Hidrobolivar, the water provider in the Venezuelan state of Bolivar, has attempted to improve its tarnished image with bold statements about its achievements and plans for the future.
“We have set out our goal that all the homes in Bolivar have piped drinking water by 2014,” the state’s governor, Francisco Rangel Gomez, announced on May 3.
Hidrobolivar is 50 percent owned by state’s government and 50 percent by the area’s 11 mayorships. Rangel made his announcement after the 6th Assembly of Hidrobolivar Shareholders.
When Hidrobolivar was created in 2006, only 42 percent of the population of the province had water piped into their homes; this figure has been raised to 95 percent now.
To achieve 100 percent coverage, the governor claimed Hidrobolivar would invest $25 million USD to build 163 wells and 267 kilometers of pipes.
Rangel described how the company would snap up mobile drinking-water treatment plants to serve remote communities: “In 2012, 16 plants will be set up, and the other 15 [will be installed] in 2013,” he explained.
He said the remaining 5 percent of residents remained without tap water because their homes “had been built without any sort of planning over the past 60 or 70 years and where there were no tanks, pipes or any other infrastructure.”
Rangel also trumpeted the decision to build an aqueduct to serve the needs of the state’s capital city, Bolivar. The new development will be ready by August, and represents the first major investment in water supply to the city since 1974.
Great effort was made to emphasize the strides made in the supply and quality of the water under Hidrobolivar and the stewardship of Rangel. But despite favorable press coverage of the announcements, the service provided by Hidrobolivar has its critics.
Antonio Carrasquel, leader of Bandera Roja (Red Flag) party and head of social development in the Heres district, paints a different picture of the record of Hidrobolivar and those responsible for its management.
In a stinging critique, he said the service “was deteriorating every day, the quality of the water is non-existent, the majority of the neighborhoods have no service, and those that receive it complain it is unreliable and prone to serious interruptions,” DiarioProgreso.com reported.
Frustrated employees of the company wrote directly to the President Hugo Chavez in March with a list of serious complaints in a “message from the heart.”
Among the 15 points, they claimed to have been exposed to inhumane working conditions, and that the company was responsible for “labor terrorism.”