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Without water and at risk of blackout

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Without water and at risk of blackout

Two different Colombias

Paradoxically, the abundance of water in the history of our country has not reached all people. According to DANE, around 3.2 million people did not have access to drinking water in Colombia by 2023, of which 2.6 million live in rural areas and 600,000 in urban areas. Additionally, if we analyze inequality in access, rural and urban Colombia seem like different nations. While in the municipal capitals 97.4% have access, in rural areas only 57.8% receive the liquid, with a gap of almost 40 percentage points.

Likewise, if we focus on the problem of electrical energy, according to Promigas, 9.6 million inhabitants live in energy poverty; of which 760,000 do not have any type of access to energy and 5.4 million inhabitants still cook with firewood or other highly polluting fuels due to the lack of electricity or natural gas.

In contrast, while millions of people do not have access to water, Colombia is among the countries that consume the most water. In fact, our country heads the ranking of OECD nations, placing itself in first place with 1,988m3 per capita. This data calls for an attitude of responsibility and savings, but also solidarity, since it is not only about avoiding a national shortage, but also considering that all these people excluded from the service could have more opportunities to benefit if we saved more.

Energy rates continue to skyrocket

It is no secret to anyone that hydraulic generation is cheaper than that generated with thermal sources. However, we still depend on the availability of thermal generators in times of water stress and this explains tariff figures such as the reliability charge that we still pay today.

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In times of water scarcity, like the one we are experiencing, the percentage of the matrix is ​​loaded more towards thermoelectric plants, which can contribute up to 40% of the total energy, raising generation costs even further. Hence the importance of saving water, first to avoid a shortage or blackout and, second, to reduce or keep energy prices stable.

Finally, we are aware that there are regions in our territory that may have fewer concerns regarding water or energy because their climatic characteristics are more favorable. However, there are other regions that today are in a critical situation, such as the center of the country with water shortages and the fight that we have been fighting for years in the Caribbean region over high energy rates. We must make great efforts as compatriots, since we are part of the same national interconnected system and, therefore, each of the individual actions will influence the general well-being of all Colombian families.

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