The so-called Bolivia Water War took place in the arid city of Cochabamba in 2000. However, the water crisis is far from over. In 1999, the water supply of Cochabamba was privatized by city officials. An international consortium acquired the contract, agreeing to pay the large debt of the previous municipal water supplier and build a dam. Consequently, the cost of water rose dramatically and protests of outrage began in response to the water crisis.
The contract was overturned after months of protest, but many issues still remain. Water is so scarce in Cochabamba that growing food is nearly impossible, and parts of the city lack electricity and running water. The effects of climate change are exacerbating the water crisis as increased droughts put pressure on the agricultural economy. As a result, the rural population is displaced to urban areas where water and sanitation infrastructure is already under much stress. The state of Bolivia’s infrastructure is so poor that only 27 percent of the population has adequate access to sanitation facilities, second-worst in the Americas region, after Haiti.
ChildFund partners with local Cochabamba group Obispo Anaya to provide families access to purified water as well as several educational initiatives to teach people about responsible water usage and conservation. Another focus of our partnership is improving access to sanitation facilities, especially when severe water scarcity makes proper sanitation difficult. While access to water and sanitation has improved significantly since the Bolivian Water War, many people still do not have adequate access to either. To help improve these conditions, please consider donating to our Essentials for Survival fund.