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Peru: Only 10 Percent of Water in Rural, Jungle Communities Is Fit for Human Consumption


Only 10 percent of the water supplied to rural and jungle areas in Peru is fit for human consumption, according to a new report from the Ministry of Environment (MINAM).

The fifth National Report State of the Environment of MINAM 2009-2011 also said only half of the water provided in the departments of Madre de Dios and Lima is fit for human consumption

The 295-page report, released at the beginning of January, found that only 29.1 percent of household wastewater is treated in Peru. MINAM identified a total of 2,505 sanitation systems in the country, of which only 283 are authorized. Eleven percent of these systems are in inadequate condition, according to the report.

MINAM says the purpose of its state of the environment report is to provide the best available information for decision-makers and the general public on environmental issues in the country.

“There are threats over the natural and cultural resources that are manifested in a concerning deterioration of the environment and its resources,” the report said.

Among these threats, MINAM cites mining activities and their impacts on human health and quality of life. The report also emphasizes the role of disorganized urban growth in the capital areas of Lima and intermediate cities on water supply issues.

The ministry highlighted the work of the work of OEFA, the country’s Environmental Control and Assessment Agency, which carried out a total of 1,288 interventions in the country during 2010-2011.

Seven critical areas were identified and evaluated, including those in the regions of Huánuco, Cajamarca, Piura, Rio Loreto, Ancash, Barranquita San Martín.

MINAM’s report also warned that Peru’s tropical glaciers have shrunk by 22 percent. In the past decade, Peru has lost 510 square kilometers of glaciers. This accounts for approximately 12 million cubic meters of water.

MINAM says Peru was headed toward one of the world’s highest water stress indexes by 2025.