Improvements in water quality management in communities
Water treatment plants to be built
Cleaning Up the Rio Guaire in Caracas, Venezuela
Since its founding in 1567 as Santiago de Leon de Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela has been expanding in an east-west direction across a valley divided by the Rio Guaire, making the river its natural drainage system. Unfortunately, as the population of the metropolitan area increased over the centuries to its current 4.2 million inhabitants, the Guaire has been the main repository for disposing of untreated wastewater and toxic substances.
Today the river not only smells bad, it also represents a major sanitary and environmental challenge for Caracas because only 12 percent of the city’s wastewater is currently treated. However, with support from the IDB, Caracas is working to clean up the Guaire by investing in sanitation infrastructure.
The clean-up is being implemented in stages. The sub-basins at the head of the catchment area in the western part of the city, home to the most vulnerable population, will be the first to benefit from the project because they have the least water and sanitation infrastructure and contribute the largest amount of untreated sewage.
The IDB is supporting works in 12 sub-basins of the Guaire River that will collect, channel, separate, and dispose of sewage. It is also supporting socio-environmental initiatives to prevent and reduce the vulnerability of surrounding communities to flooding and landslides, as well as improvements in water quality management in communities.
Caracas plans to build water treatment plants starting in 2015 once the sewerage systems and related infrastructure are in place. Meanwhile, wastewater collected by the sanitation infrastructure upgraded by the project will be discharged outside the Caracas metropolitan area. The project-financed works will increase the interception of sewage to 90 percent from its current 20 percent in the 12 beneficiary sub-basins. It’s an important step forward toward cleaning up Caracas’s historic Guaire River for generations to come.