Water challenges in Argentina: Development of the National Water Plan
This November, Argentina will host the Water and Development Congress, organized by the International Water Association (IWA), an event that will attract leading experts in the field around the globe. We believe that an event of this magnitude is a great opportunity to show the world that our country has really changed its perspective on how to tackle water challenges.
When Argentina hosted the last the International Water Association congress carried out in Latin America in 1999, the country was going through a deep recession. The unemployment rate was 14.3% and the poverty rate rose to 26.7%. That scenario was the prelude to the worst economic, political and social crisis in our history. Although the country has since undergone major transformations that have overcome the political crisis, even today, reducing poverty in the country and achieving sustained economic growth remain pending issues.
In the 21st century, still 7 million Argentinians don’t have access to clean drinking water and close to 20 million have no sewer service. This numbers show us the challenges we must deal with as a country. For that reason, President Mauricio Macri has developed an ambitious National Water Plan, with the goal of positioning water resources as a key factor for a sustainable development of the country. One of the main objectives established in the Plan is to ensure that 100% of Argentinians have access to drinking water and that almost 75% have sanitation coverage.
The National Water Plan defines four main components of water policy as: clean water supply and sanitation , where the goal is to achieve 100% of safe water supply and almost 75% of sanitation; large scale multi-purpose water infrastructure and biomass ; use of water for production , mostly increasing the smart use of Public-Private Partnerships to extend the agricultural frontier, allowing clean industrial development and foster tourism; adaptable water management and policies to deal with climate change and variability.
We believe it is our job to ensure that every person living in Argentina has access to drinking water and sanitation services, as well as to build multipurpose dams for the generation of energy and the use of water for industry, with the purpose of increasing the level of agricultural production. Also, it is important to carry out water infrastructure works to mitigate the impact of floods and droughts, something that hasn ́t been done in many years.
President Mauricio Macri has set forth 3 main goals to achieve in his term of office: combat drug trafficking, reduce poverty and bring the Argentinians together. If we manage to develop the National Water Plan in an effective and responsible way, with the planning and preparation that are required, we will have a positive impact on our country. In fact, when delivered, access to clean water and sanitation will help us to reduce poverty, will have an effect on health, even on energy targets, and will contribute to the well-being of the large-scale population.
The Congress will be a great opportunity to interact with specialists from all over the world, to learn about their experiences and to establish professional ties. We believe that through the exchange of knowledge, solutions and ideas we will be able to strengthen our capacities, following one of the premises of the National Water Plan: more information, better decisions.