Waters of Latin America and the Caribbean: contributions in times of COVID-19

Adequate integrated water resource management is one of the most powerful tools to ensure the supply of drinking water and wastewater treatment. In a pandemic situation it will significantly prevent the spread of the disease

“Ensuring the availability of water and its sustainable management and sanitation for all” is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and clearly reinforces the need to ensure that these resources are available for all. However, many do not have access to this resource. In addition, if water available for a community is not safe, or its sanitation systems do not meet basic requirements, water can become a disease´s vector.

When it comes to ensuring the supply of drinking water and the treatment of wastewater, proper integrated management of water resources is one of the most powerful tools. In a pandemic situation, it will significantly prevent the spread of the disease.

Who participates in the management of water resources? Depending on each community, politicians, executives, decision makers, the scientific community and inhabitants of the territories participate in water management. The role of scientists will be to provide safe and quality information, so results of research and practice support the actions taken.

The scientific community practices the exchange of knowledge in various opportunities. The current circumstances of social distance caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are not an obstacle to continue building bridges in science. Thus, water experts take advantage of virtual tools to meet and share solutions that address the various realities surrounding the management of the waters. One of the most important issues is the authorities´ recommendation of washing hands with soap and water. In Latin America, at least 65 million people do not have access to soap and water, and washing hands becomes not a simple task.

To hear first-hand about the realities of Latin America and the Caribbean countries about their waters, last Thursday March 2nd, 2020, during the webinar “Management tools for the water sector in Latin America and the Caribbean to confront COVID- 19 ”nearly 400 experts and decision-makers in the region’s water resources managed to get together. The Pan American Health Organization and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Program in Latin America and the Caribbean co-organized the occasion.

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