Tue, Sep 21, 2010 - Page 9 News List

A case study

THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

Alicia Flores and her family live in the village of Callejon de los Espinos in Peru’s Ica Valley. Each house in the village normally receives water for about one hour, three times a week.

They used to get two hours’ water four times a week, but about four years ago the water pressure dropped off dramatically, as agricultural exporters extracted more and more groundwater. Then the 2007 earthquake exacerbated the problem by damaging infrastructure. Now, when the water is on, the family is only able to collect half the amount of water they used to, so they are reduced to 10 liters of water per person, per day. The WHO says a person needs five times that amount to maintain health.

Like most people in the village, Alicia’s husband works for the asparagus exporters. They say the working conditions are good, but pay and benefits have been cut since the global economic crisis.

“We have seen water pressure dropping in the past years since the agro-exporters came, but if the water runs out and they leave, we will have no work and no water. What will happen to our children then?” one villager said.

NOTE: names have been changed

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