Copiapó Basin Library

Water Security in Chile’s Cities: Advances and Pending Challenges

Author James McPhee, Jorge Gironás, Bonifacio Fernández, Pablo Pastén, José Vargas, Alejandra Vega and Sebastián Vicuña
Date 2015
Type Artículo
Contents Introduction, Governance and Sanitation Sector Management in Chile, Sustainable Rainwater Management, Climate Change and Security of Supply, Conclusions
Summary As it happens in many urban centers around the world, Chile’s urban water sector seeks to attain water security1 by means of enhancing water’s productive potential while at the same time minimizing its destructive force through urban water systems. Chile’s historical evolution shows a trajectory of success, with significant improvements in access to safe drinking water supply, sewage collection and treatment, with private services provision and effective public oversight. These improvements have reduced significantly the incidence of water-borne infectious illnesses in the population. Despite the above, outstanding challenges persist, including local water quality problems related to Chile’s geology; the need for integrated and sustainable urban and natural water system management for quantity and quality; and the need for increasing water services access for population living in peri-urban environments. Given that the majority of Chilean cities are located in water-scarce areas, or in regions where climate change is expected to generate important drying effects in the long term, it is urgent to address these challenges with both existing and new, effective management tools
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