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Uruguay’s Water Emergency Deepens As Reservoir Hits Historic Low

Montevideo's water supply at risk as Paso Severino Dam reaches critical level after prolonged drought

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — The reservoir supplying 60% of Uruguay’s freshwater reached a historic low on June 28, showing the extent of the country’s water emergency that has been prolonged by drought.

The Paso Severino Dam, which supplies the city of Montevideo and its entire metropolitan area with drinking water, had only 2.4% of its water capacity remaining after a three-year drought. The dam is the only source of drinking water for the Montevideo area.

As water levels receded in the reservoir, surprises were unearthed. Video from AFP shows old structures, including a bridge, emerging from the low waters. “The bridge had previously remained underwater for 30 years,” said AFP.

A bridge that resurfaced last week in Montevideo, Uruguay. AFP

Rainfall in the Montevideo area was about 0.39 of an inch (10 millimeters) on July 5, with 1.29 inches (33 millimeters) falling from July 3 through July 6. San Jose, a nearby city, received about 1 inch (25 millimeters) of rain over the same period.

“Typically, the region receives 2.66 inches of rainfall in July, and this month Montevideo is expected to pick up more rain than the historical average,” said AccuWeather Lead International Forecaster Jason Nicholls. In comparison, Montevideo recorded 2.95 inches of rain last July.

This week, the Uruguayan Parliament approved the creation of an emergency water fund to provide drinking water to high-risk people and develop new dams to combat the crisis. But the President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, warned relief might not be quick.

“If it does not rain, the water will not be drinkable for a period of time,” said the President to Getty.

Produced in association with AccuWeather

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager

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