Lines of people waiting to use trickling hoses grew on Friday, as neighborhoods in the northeast of Medellin faced their 14th day without potable water.
An estimated 12,000 people in the neighborhoods of comunas one and two have not had water since a landslide in Copacabana broke part of the canal that carries water from the Piedras Blancas reservoir to the Mountain Treatment Plant that supplies the affected sector of the city, local newspaper El Colombiano reported.
The real amount of people without running water is probably scores higher because neighborhoods in the east of the city are also reportedly without water.
Santiago Ochoa Posada, assistant manager for public service company EPM’s Operation and Water Maintenance department, told Colombia Reports that water has started to pass through the canal and he hopes that the affected neighborhoods will begin receiving potable water by Friday evening.
According to the official, more than 40 workers are finishing repairs on the canal after digging it out from under eight meters of fallen earth. “The canal usually rests one meter below ground,” said Ochoa, who compared the repair process to working in a mine.
In the affected northeastern sector of the city, there are reports of lines of more than 30 people who are waiting for water to be delivered by EPM, some of whom have been waiting all night to fill their buckets.
Some have complained that the available water is not clean, and diarrhea, vomiting and stomach problems have been reported by residents.
A teenage girl who lives close to the Mountain Treatment Plant, above the Santo Domingo neighborhood, told Colombia Reports that her family collects water from a hose that runs out of the water treatment facility. The water is not treated, so the family puts it into pots and boils it on the stove in order to supply their house with potable water.
The girl spoke of neighborhoods further down the hill from the treatment facility that are desperate for water. These neighborhoods are perched on steep slopes, so transporting the water that is delivered in trucks is a grueling process.
The young woman had heard rumors that the water would be turned back on by Tuesday May 3. As the hours pass on Friday, she and her community remain in wait.